The British government has secured early access to more than 90 million vaccine doses as well as Covid-19 neutralizing antibody treatments, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced today.
The announcement follows an existing global licensing agreement signed with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to research, develop and manufacture 100 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine for the UK public.
“The hunt to find a vaccine is a truly global endeavor, 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,” Sharma said, announcing a partnership with companies BioNTech/Pfizer and Valneva, which are developing vaccines against COVID-19.
“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.”
France-based Pharmaceutical Valneva confirmed the “agreement in principle” with the British government saying it would “provide up to 100 million doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate.”
“The UK government is expected to contribute to UK clinical studies costs and is negotiating funding to expand Valneva’s Scottish facility,” it also said.
Sharma encouraged people to sign up for a newly created NHS website which aims to make it “quicker and easier” for volunteers to join studies and trials.
“The public can also play their part in vaccine research through the new NHS vaccine research register,” he said, setting a target of 500,000 people on the platform by October. “By signing up and participating in important clinical studies, together we can speed up the search for a vaccine and end the pandemic sooner.”