Significant partnerships have been agreed with BioNTech/Pfizer and Valneva, pharmaceutical and vaccine companies that are developing new vaccines to protect against coronavirus, with the UK securing early access to 90 million doses of promising vaccine candidates.
Access to treatments containing covid neutralising antibodies has also been secured from AstraZeneca, with the aim being to protect people who can’t be vaccinated, such as immunocompromised and cancer patients.
This move could mean that the UK could have sufficient doses to vaccinate and protect priority groups like health and social care workers, as well as others at increased health risk.
A new vaccine research registry has also been launched that will allow members of the public to participate in clinical studies. The hope is that 500,000 will be signed up by October, considered to be a vital step in the fight against covid-19.
Alok Sharma, business secretary, said: “The hunt to find a vaccine is a truly global endeavour and we are doing everything we can to ensure the British public get access to a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible.
“This new partnership with some of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical and vaccine companies will ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk.”
However, speaking to Sky News, chief executive of Valneva Thomas Lingelbach said that the drug wouldn’t be widely available before the middle of next year, explaining that they’re now trying to accelerate a ten-year development cycle and get it done in ten months.
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