Government Aims For 30 Million Vaccine Doses By September If Trials Are Successful
In today's daily public briefing, Sharma praised the work at both Oxford University and Imperial College London, and said that the search for a vaccine to the virus is progressing well.
Despite that, he also warned against pinning all hopes on a vaccine, because a successful one may never be found.
He said: "Last month I announced a new vaccine task force to co-ordinate the efforts of Government, academia and industry in the critical mission to find a vaccine.
"I'm very proud of how quickly our scientists and researchers have come together in their efforts developing a vaccine that will combat coronavirus.
"The first clinical trial of the Oxford vaccine is progressing well with all phase one participants having received their vaccine dose on schedule earlier this week."
"The speed at which Oxford University has designed and organised these complex trials is genuinely unprecedented.
He added: "Imperial College are also making good progress and are looking to move into clinical trials in June.
"I can announce an Additional £84m of funding to help develop a vaccine."
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The UK has agreed a partnership with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to ensure that the virus can be quickly mass produced if the trials prove to be a success.
Sharma also added that, if the trials prove to be a success, the UK will have first access to that vaccine.
However, he tempered those expectations by adding that - in theory - we might never actually find a successful vaccine for the virus.
In that event, Sharma also announced that six drugs have entered into live clinical trials to see if they can be used to successfully treat the virus.
The government has also pledged a further £93m to the new virus development centre to make sure that it is able to open ahead of schedule in summer 2021.
The Business Secretary said: "To further support our domestic manufacturing capabilities last month, I announced the Government would accelerate building the UK's first vaccines manufacturing innovation centre, which is based at Harwell in Oxfordshire.
"And today I can announce we will invest up to a further £93 million in the centre ensuring that it opens in summer 2021, a full 12 months ahead of schedule.
"The centre, which is already under construction, will have capacity to produce enough vaccine doses to serve the entire UK population in as little as six months."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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