As of this morning – Monday May 18 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 243,695 with 34,636 deaths.
The government is streaming new funds of £84 million to help the UK’s top researchers in their quest to develop a coronavirus vaccine, business secretary Alok Sharma has announced.
The funding includes £65.5 million for the vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford and £18.5 million for Imperial College London, as coronavirus vaccine trials accelerate.
It comes as Oxford University agrees a global licensing agreement with AstraZeneca for the commercialisation and manufacturing of their potential vaccine.
If the Oxford vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will work to make up to 30 million doses available by September for people in the UK, as part of an agreement to deliver 100 million doses in total.
According to the government this means the UK will be the first country to get access to the vaccine.
“Our scientists are at the forefront of vaccine development. This deal with AstraZeneca means that if the Oxford University vaccine works, people in the UK will get the first access to it, helping to protect thousands of lives,” the business secretary commented.
“The agreement will deliver 100 million doses in total, ensuring that in addition to supporting our own people, we are able to make the vaccines available to developing countries at the lowest possible cost”.
According to the government, the UK is at the forefront of international efforts to research and develop a vaccine, having already pledged £250 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the highest contribution of any country, as part its commitment of £388 million to advance the international drive to develop vaccines, tests and treatments for COVID-19.
WASH YOUR HANDS:
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING:
Maintain at least two metres (six feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
STAY AT HOME:
Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home).