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UK and India announce hub to boost vaccine collaboration

Image: argua, via Shutterstock

Hub will enable experts to share knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals

The UK government has announced a virtual UK-India vaccines hub to help fight coronavirus and prevent future pandemics.

The new hub will help British and Indian experts share knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals with the aim of getting vaccines to people who need them most in a safe, secure and energy-efficient way, the government said on 16 December.

India currently supplies more than 50 per cent of the world’s vaccines and 25 per cent of the NHS’s generic drugs. It is hoped that the new collaboration will ensure speedy access for the UK to Indian-produced pharmaceuticals and help safeguard future supplies to the NHS.

The Serum Institute in India is aiming to produce over a billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, millions of which will be distributed via the COVAX initiative, which aims to provide equitable global access to vaccines.

Announcing the hub during a visit to India on 16 December, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the partnership between the institute and the University of Oxford “demonstrates the UK-India relationship at its best—a vaccine developed in the UK and made in India, drawing our brightest minds together to save lives as a global force for good”.

“A global pandemic requires a global solution,” he said. “Scientific cooperation has made breakthroughs on coronavirus vaccines at record-breaking pace and the UK-India Vaccine Hub will now build on these innovations, to bring this crisis to an end and protect us all against future pandemics.”

During his visit, Raab also met with India’s minister for education, Ramesh Pokhriyal and agreed to work together on mutual recognition of academic qualifications, starting with master’s degrees, over the next year.