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UK launches coronavirus vaccine taskforce

Taskforce will be led by chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance

Clinical research

The UK government has launched a new taskforce which will drive the accelerated research, development and production of a coronavirus vaccine.

The taskforce will be led by the UK’s chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance and deputy chief medical officer Jonathan van Tam, and will work closely with the Bioindustry Association.

Members of the group range from the government, academia and industry, including representatives from AstraZeneca and the Wellcome Trust. They have been tasked with supporting efforts to develop an effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible, by providing industry and research institutions with any resources they need.

That includes reviewing regulations and scaling up manufacturing for possible mass production when a successful vaccine is developed. The taskforce will also work to develop funding and operational plans for the procurement and delivery of vaccines.

The announcement builds on the UK’s prior commitments to the development of a coronavirus vaccine, and will also expand its research and development expertise within the international community.

Last month, the UK government donated a total of £250m in funding to support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) in its efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

At the time, the UK called for all G20 governments to pledge at least $100m to CEPI, after the organisation said that at least $2bn is needed for the successful and fast-tracked development of a vaccine for the coronavirus.

“The UK is home to world leading scientists, researchers and companies who are all at the forefront of vaccine development and manufacturing,” said Vallance.

“The taskforce will ensure that any potential coronavirus vaccine, when available, can be produced quickly and at scale so it can be made available to the public as quickly as possible,” he added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also coordinating a coronavirus vaccine programme, which will be co-led by ex-GlaxoSmithKline chief executive officer Sir Andrew Witty.

The WHO, in partnership with other stakeholders, is also supporting the accelerated development of a coronavirus vaccine. According to the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, three vaccine are already in clinical trials and over 70 are in development.

The three currently in clinical testing include a non-replicating viral vector candidate from CanSino Biological and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, a DNA-based candidate being developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals and an mRNA-based candidate from Moderna.

Article by
PMGroup

20th April 2020

From: Research

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