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UK contributes £210m towards COVID-19 vaccine efforts

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also tests positive for coronavirus

Coronavirus

The UK government has announced further funding towards global efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK would commit £210m in funding for a vaccine, with the donated funds going to support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

CEPI is supporting the development of vaccines for the novel coronavirus, and for any future vaccines to be made available throughout the world at the lowest possible price, for the NHS and other countries’ healthcare systems.

Earlier this month, CEPI said that $2bn in funding is needed for the successful and fast-tracked development of a vaccine for COVID-19, and called for donations from global governments and private organisations alike.

As well as committing this additional funding, the UK government has called for all G20 government to pledge at least $100m to meet CEPI’s target.

So far, the UK is the biggest contributor to the international coalition to find a vaccine, it said in the statement, saying it has now committed £250m to CEPI.

The UK funding pledge followed a virtual summit of G20 leaders, as global health systems continue to tackle the pandemic, with none being spared from the reach of the virus.

The video call was the first gathering of the G20 representatives since the coronavirus outbreak began, with the leaders discussing international efforts to protect the global economy from the long-term effects of the virus.

The UK government also announced an additional package aimed at producing rapid tests for coronavirus, as well as for testing and developing medicines to treat COVID-19 – in the UK and across the world.

The funding will accelerate testing existing medicines, and researching and testing new treatments, for efficacy against the virus.

“While our brilliant doctors and nurses fight coronavirus at home, this record British funding will help to find a vaccine for the entire world. UK medics and researchers are at the forefront of this pioneering work,” said Johnson.

“My call to every G20 country and to governments around the world is to step up and help us defeat this virus.

“In the meantime, I want to repeat to everyone that they should stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives,” he added.

The UK vaccine funding announcement from Johnson came only a day before news broke that the Prime Minister has tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a video posted to his twitter account, Johnson said he is self-isolating after developing mild symptoms over the past 24 hours. He added that he will "continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus".

Article by
Lucy Parsons

27th March 2020

From: Research

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