Britain has the world’s second-highest death toll in the coronavirus pandemic, and has faced sustained criticism for its response to the outbreak.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is touting the country as a global leader in the big-money investment race to find a vaccine.
Ministers claim two studies in particular — at Oxford University and Imperial College London — are "frontrunners" in the international effort.
Oxford has now received more than ?85 million ($104 million, 95 million euros), and Imperial nearly ?43 million, in British state funding.
Meanwhile, it is hoped a new "manufacturing innovation centre" can provide enough doses of any vaccine for everyone in Britain within six months from next year.
At the same time, the government has pledged ?388 million to an international drive to develop vaccines, tests and treatments, and hosts an online pledging conference for vaccine alliance GAVI on June 4.
"The UK continues to lead the global response to find a vaccine, and the government is backing our scientists to do this as quickly as possible," Business Secretary Alok Sharma said on Sunday as he announced further funding.Oxford’s effort involves its multidisciplinary Vaccine Group, set up in 1994 to study new and improved inoculations, and the Jenner Institute, which works on both human and livestock diseases.Its hoped-for vaccine is based on a chimpanzee adenovirus — a common cold virus — which has been genetically changed to stop COVID-19 replicating in humans.The first of three trial phases began in healthy adults in April, with more than 1,000 immunisations completed. The next stage will see 10,260 adults and children from a broader age range assessed.According to the World Health Organization, […]