Coronavirus: Another £84million pledged towards developing vaccine

17 May 2020, 17:48

The Business Secretary said the Government has now committed more than a quarter of a billion pounds
The Business Secretary said the Government has now committed more than a quarter of a billion pounds. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Another £84million has been pledged towards developing a coronavirus vaccine, Alok Sharma announced.

The Business Secretary said the Government has now committed more than a quarter of a billion pounds towards developing a coronavirus vaccine in the UK.

Mr Sharma said Imperial College London was also "making good progress" and would look to move into clinical trials for a vaccine by mid-June, with larger scale trials in October.

He said so far the Government had invested £47 million in the Oxford and Imperial vaccine programmes, and announced a further £84 million in new funding "to help accelerate their work".

Mr Sharma said: "This new money will help mass-produce the Oxford vaccine so that if current trials are successful we have dosages to start vaccinating the UK population straight away."

He said pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca had finalised a "global licensing agreement" with Oxford University with Government support, adding: "This means that if the vaccine is successful AstraZeneca will work to make 30 million doses available by September for the UK as part of an agreement for over 100 million doses in total."

But he warned that there are no certainties and it is possible trials may not lead to a successful coronavirus vaccine.

"So we also need to look at other drug treatments and therapeutics for those who get the virus," he said at the Downing Street daily briefing.

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He said the Government is working with scientists in the collaborative UK programme Accord to find a drug.

"Today I can report six drugs have entered initial live clinical trials," he said.

"If positive results are seen they will advance to larger-scale trials."

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