İrem UZUN -TDO- At a daily coronavirus news briefing, business secretary Alok Sharma announced that the government has set up a vaccine taskforce to find a coronavirus vaccine. He called producing a vaccine a “colossal undertaking” that would take many months and there was no guarantee of success.
Sharma’s announcement focused mainly on the idea of the vaccines taskforce, combining government and industry, which would both coordinate research efforts to develop a vaccine and then seek to ensure it could be provided to people as soon as possible. The official press release from the government’s website says “The taskforce, led by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan van Tam, will support efforts to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible by providing industry and research institutions with the resources and support needed. This includes reviewing regulations and scaling up manufacturing, so that when a vaccine becomes available, it can be produced quickly and in mass quantities”.
The vaccine taskforce will function based of 5 main goals. First of all, it will focus on supporting the discovery of potential coronavirus vaccines by working with the public and private sector. Secondly, it will prepare the UK as a leader in clinical vaccine testing and manufacturing. It will review government regulations to facilitate rapid and safe vaccine trials. Moreover, it will develop funding and operational plans for the procurement and delivery of vaccines. Lastly, it will benefit from the UK’s research and development expertise to support global studies to find the coronavirus vaccine.
Professor Sarah Gilbert from Oxford University has said she is hopeful of identifying a vaccine by September, but other experts fear that inoculations will not be available until 2021. The UK has already pledged £250m to the international effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine under the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).