The government will invest £ 93 million to accelerate the opening of a new vaccine production center ready to begin production if a coronavirus vaccine is found.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) said the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Center (VMIC) will now open in the summer of 2021 – 12 months ahead of schedule.
The non-profit organization – located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxford – will have the capacity to produce sufficient doses for the entire UK population within six months.
An additional £ 38 million will be invested in a rapid deployment facility that could start producing on a large scale starting this summer if a vaccine becomes available before the new center is completed.
Officials said the VMIC would also increase the UK’s long-term capacity to deal with future viruses and accelerate the production of vaccines for existing diseases such as the flu virus.
When announcing the investment, company secretary Alok Sharma said, “As soon as there is a breakthrough, we must be ready to produce a vaccine worth millions.”
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) CEO Sir Mark Walport said: “The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Center is an essential new weapon in the UK’s arsenal against diseases and other biological threats, ensuring it is delivered in the fastest possible time enough vaccines reach the public. .
“The UKRI-funded teams at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London have developed potential coronavirus vaccines at unprecedented speed.
“By working with partners such as government, VMIC and the Vaccines Taskforce to accelerate production capacity, we ensure that momentum continues from lab to patient.”