British Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced on Sunday a wave of new investment to accelerate development and mass production of a COVID-19 vaccine, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told members of his party that he wanted the country to return to normal by the end of July. On April 21, an announcement of a further £44.5 million for the Oxford and Imperial trials increased this funding further still.
Mr Sharma said that once it was operating it would have the capacity to produce enough vaccine doses to serve the entire United Kingdom population in as little as six months.
AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot thanked the government for its support in a statement and said he was "proud" to be working with Oxford on vaccine development.
The vaccine trial at Imperial College is also making good progress, according to Sharma, who says that the effort is looking to move into clinical trials by mid-June with larger-scale trials planned to start in October.
FTSE 100 drug giant AstraZeneca (AZN.L) is lined up to make as many as 30 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine if ongoing trials prove the drug to be effective.
At the daily briefing yesterday, Mr Sharma said the government had now put in a quarter of a billion pounds towards finding and developing a coronavirus vaccine and that the work of the University of Oxford was taking a step forward.
The facility at Harwell in Oxfordshire - which is already under construction - is now expected to open in summer 2021, a year ahead of schedule. "Once the plants were harvested, the antigen was then purified", BAT said.
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"The vaccine candidate is now poised to progress to the next stage which will be Phase 1 human clinical trials pending FDA authorisation", BAT said on its website.
Speaking at the daily press briefing, Sharma announced 34,636 people had died from coronavirus across the United Kingdom, a rise of 170 in the last 24 hours.
Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia.
He said measures were being put in place to ensure the safety of children and staff - including limiting class sizes to 15 - although he acknowledged they could not eliminate all risk. That means we need to continue to do what we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe through social distancing, the wearing of protective face coverings, and basic cleanliness.
"We will turn our focus to what is actually going to get our economy kickstarted", Halton said.
"There will be a point in the future when all of us can look back and reflect and make sure we have learned the appropriate lessons".