The UK has appointed Kate Bingham as chair of its vaccine taskforce on Saturday (16).
The taskforce will lead the UK’s efforts to find and manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine.
The new role is a cross-government role and Kate Bingham will report directly to the prime minister Boris Johnson.
Kate Bingham is a leading name in the life sciences sector and her appointment will enable the vaccine taskforce to accelerate the development of a safe and effective vaccine, one of the long-term solutions to controlling the coronavirus pandemic and saving lives without social distancing or contact tracing in place, the government said in a statement.
Kate will co-ordinate the work already underway across government, academia and industry to rapidly develop vaccines, and ensure that as and when a viable one becomes available, it can be produced in mass quantities and safely administered to the public – both in the UK and around the world.
The taskforce is ensuring the work being done to find a vaccine in the UK complements and supports global efforts.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who has been tasked with ministerial responsibility for the government’s work on vaccines said: “Discovering a vaccine is going to be vital in the plan to defeat Covid-19. Kate’s appointment as chair of the UK’s vaccine taskforce will give us exceptional leadership and focused energy as we seek to make this essential breakthrough.
“We stand firmly behind the work of Kate and the Taskforce as they lead efforts to discover and mass produce a Covid-19 vaccine that could save millions of lives in the UK and around the world.”
Kate said: “Our immediate aim on vaccines is two-fold: to ensure everyone in the UK that needs to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can be as soon as practicable. Secondly, to ensure adequate global distribution of vaccines to bring the quickest possible end to the pandemic and the economic and social damage it causes.”
Kate has worked in the biotech sector in the UK and internationally for 26 years – most recently as managing partner at SV Health Investor.
Her work has led to the launch of six drugs for the treatment of patients with inflammatory and autoimmune disease and cancer.