Six Covid-19 research projects, including two focused on vaccination trials, will be the first to benefit from a share of £20 million in government investment, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said on Monday (March 23).
Two government-backed projects will receive new funding, enabling pre-clinical and clinical vaccine trials, as well as supporting researchers to develop manufacturing processes to produce a vaccine at a million-dose scale.
Other projects receiving funding examine how existing treatments could be repurposed to treat coronavirus, developing antibodies to help target the virus, and examining how people at greatest risk of catching it could be identified.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “In the midst of a global health emergency the UK is using all its extensive research expertise to quickly develop new vaccines to target this international threat.
“This investment will speed up globally-recognised vaccine development capabilities and help us find a new defence against this disease.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma added: “Whether testing new drugs or examining how to repurpose existing ones, UK scientists and researchers have been working tirelessly on the development of treatments for coronavirus.
“The projects we are funding today will be vital in our work to support our valuable NHS and protect people’s lives.”
The latest announcement follows £30m of new government funding for the National Institute for Health Research to enable further rapid research into Covid-19, and an additional £10m to increase Public Health England’s ability to test people and monitor the virus, announced in the budget on March 11.