UK Government Announces Coronavirus Vaccine Taskforce
Speaking at today's briefing, Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said the taskforce will bring together people from academia, the government and industry.
He said: "We need to apply the best of British scientific endeavour to this."
The taskforce will be led by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.
Sharma said he is hopeful the government and private sector partners will be able to manufacture a vaccine 'by the millions' once scientists have found one.
In a statement about the taskforce seen by the Guardian, the government said: "The taskforce will be led by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, will support efforts to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible by providing industry and research institutions with the resources and support needed.
"This includes reviewing regulations and scaling up manufacturing, so that when a vaccine becomes available, it can be produced quickly and in mass quantities.
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"Representatives from government, academia and industry are coming together to form the taskforce. Members will include government life sciences champion Sir John Bell, as well as AstraZeneca, and the Wellcome Trust."
The government has also announced that 21 new coronavirus projects will benefit from funding worth around £14 million.
Giving more detail about the projects set to get government the statement continues: "One new project led by the University of Oxford will trial an anti-malarial drug believed to have anti-inflammatory properties to determine whether it could diminish the effects of Covid-19 on people in high risk groups.
"GP surgeries across the UK have been invited to take part in this ground-breaking trial, to ascertain whether it could reduce the need for affected patients to go to hospital and speed up their recovery."
Other projects include 'Imperial College London testing a vaccine against coronavirus that aims for the body to produce more protective antibodies' and 'Public Health England developing a new antibody that could offer protection against infection and disease progression of coronavirus'.
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