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The government has announced a new deal to boost the UK’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the 18-month agreement, the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Wockhardt will carry out the crucial “fill and finish” stage of the manufacturing process, which involves dispensing the manufactured vaccine substance into vials ready for it to be distributed.
Ensuring the UK has the capability to research, develop and manufacture a safe and effective vaccine is critical in our fight against coronavirus. Today we have secured additional capacity to manufacture millions of doses of multiple Covid-19 candidates, guaranteeing the supply of vaccines we need to protect people across the UK rapidly and in large numbers.
Never before have we needed to find and manufacture a vaccine at this speed and scale in order to protect the UK population.
We have made significant progress in securing a diverse portfolio of potential vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, adding a fourth vaccine candidate from GSK and Sanofi earlier this week. However, discovering a successful vaccine is only part of the solution, we also need to be able to manufacture it.
When the Emergency Committee on Covid-19 met six months ago in January, they agreed that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. “At the time, 30 January, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China,” WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom said at Monday’s daily briefing.
But when the Committee met three months ago, three million cases of Covid-19 had been reported to WHO, and more than 200,000 deaths. Since then, the number of cases has increased more than fivefold to 17.5 million, and the number of deaths has more than tripled, to 680,000, Dr Tedros Adhanom added.
We learn every day about this virus and I’m pleased that the world has made progress in identifying treatments that can help people with the most serious forms of Covid-19 recover
A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection.