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18 May, 2020 - 10:25 By Tony Quested

AstraZeneca could make 100 million doses if Oxford virus vaccine works

In a unique life-or-death Oxbridge partnership, Cambridge Big Biotech AstraZeneca has pledged to manufacture 100 million doses of a new vaccine from Oxford University if clinical trials prove it works on coronavirus victims.

AstraZeneca says 30 million of these could be ready by September. The news was revealed by Business Secretary Alok Sharma. He said the Government was providing an additional £84 million to help accelerate work towards finding a vaccine.

“This new money will help mass produce the Oxford vaccine so if trials are successful we have dosages to start vaccinating straight away,” he said.

He added that a licensing agreement had been reached with AstraZeneca allowing for the manufacture of 30 million doses to be available by September. 

He said the UK would be “the first to get access” to the vaccine, “helping to protect thousands of lives” before making the vaccines available to developing countries “at the lowest possible cost.”

The Government has already invested £47m in vaccine programmes at Oxford and Imperial College London.

The university completed the first phase of human trials last week; it is understood that some 1,000 people have been vaccinated to date.

The Business Secretary added the rider that there was no guarantee that the vaccine would work so the UK would “need to look at other drug treatments and therapeutics for those who get the virus.”

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