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UK Government launches joint investment in coronavirus vaccine research

WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA

UK Government launches joint investment in coronavirus vaccine research

The UK Government has launched a joint investment in a Livingston manufacturing plant, alongside pharmaceutical multi-national Valneva, as part of efforts to get access to a coronavirus vaccine.

The deal in principle, which ministers hope will secure 60 million coronavirus vaccine doses, will see the plant take on an extra 75 researchers to work on creating a vaccine.

If it is proven to be effective following clinical trials, the expanded Livingston facility could potentially supply up to 100 million vaccine doses to the UK and internationally.

Announcing the move ahead of a trip to West Lothian, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “I’m incredibly grateful to our highly-skilled scientists and technicians in Livingston who are supporting the global effort to research, develop and manufacture a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine.

“The multi-million-pound up-front investment we have agreed with Valneva today means that their vaccine can be manufactured in quantity right here in Scotland. If clinical trials are successful, millions of people in priority groups across the UK will be protected by their life-saving vaccine.”

The investment comes after construction began on the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire, alongside a further £40m investment in Imperial College London to develop its vaccine candidate, which is now being trialled with more than 200 people across six locations.

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said: “We are doing everything possible to keep people in all parts of the UK safe as we tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The UK Government is purchasing millions of doses of coronavirus vaccine for distribution across all parts of the UK.

“A safe and effective vaccine is vital to the long-term protection against the virus we need. I’m particularly pleased that Scotland’s world class research sector is playing such an important role in developing a much-needed vaccine.”

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