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PM announces £46m funding boost for coronavirus research

Funding will go to research into Covid-19 vaccine and faster diagnostics for the disease

Prime minister Boris Johnson has announced a £46m funding boost for research into a coronavirus vaccine and a faster way of testing for the virus.

He made the announcement during a visit to the Mologic laboratory in Bedfordshire where scientists are trying to develop a quicker and cheaper way to diagnose coronavirus infection.

No country has yet found a method of diagnosing coronavirus without sending samples to a lab for testing—a process that can take several days.

“What we are announcing today is a £46 million package of investment in UK science which will in time deliver a vaccine—some say in about a year—but also help us to have rapid test kits that anyone can use quickly and effectively to tell whether they have coronavirus,” the prime minister said.

There are already eight possible coronavirus vaccines in development and efforts are being made to get any viable vaccines from sequencing of the virus to clinical testing in less than a year.

“Rapid testing is going to be key to managing this outbreak, but ultimately vaccines are going to provide the long-term protection we need,” said Patrick Vallance, government’s chief scientific officer. “The UK has some of the world’s leading scientists and this money will help in our fight to tackle this new disease.”

The package of £46 million announced today is made up of up to: £20m for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to support vaccine development; £5m for the Joint Initiative on Research for Epidemic Preparedness; £16m for humanitarian partners and £5m for the WHO to help vulnerable countries prepare for coronavirus.