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UK's Prime Minister visited the site of the country’s VMIC in Oxfordshire, and met the teams working at the forefront of the national COVID-19 response.
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, visited the construction site of the country’s Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) in Harwell, Oxfordshire, and met the teams working at the forefront of the national COVID-19 response.
According to a Sept. 18, 2020 press release, Johnson met with scientists, engineers, development, and construction teams at the site on Harwell Science and Innovation Campus to discuss the response to COVID-19 and the fast-tracking of the manufacturing facility. VMIC is a not-for-profit organization aimed at providing the UK with its first strategic vaccine development and advanced manufacturing capability, which will be used to accelerate vaccine development within the UK and will be used to provide national emergency response for future pandemics.
“Brilliant scientists in Oxfordshire and around the UK are driving global efforts to develop a safe vaccine that works to defeat coronavirus. If one proves successful, we need to be ready to distribute it to the British people as soon as possible,” said Johnson in the press release. “That is why construction of the VMIC at Harwell, backed by £158 million [US $201 million] from the government, is fully underway in Oxfordshire. When open, VMIC will be able to manufacture enough vaccine doses for the whole UK population in as little as six months, which would transform how we beat this virus and prepare for future pandemics.”
“Today’s visit from the Prime Minister is testament to the incredible work being carried out by an exceptional team at VMIC and amongst our partners. Their work forms a vitally important part of the national response to COVID-19 as well as fast tracking the facility to bring it online in 2021. Once complete, the centre will be equipped to provide future pandemic response for the whole of the UK,” added Dr. Matthew Duchars, CEO of VMIC, in the press release. “The government has demonstrated it is wholeheartedly committed to increasing the country’s vaccines infrastructure in order to strengthen the UK’s ability to not only provide a pandemic response capability, but also to discover and manufacture vaccines for a whole range of conditions. We look forward to being able to deliver on this as part of our day to day work, for the benefit of the UK and overseas.”
Ottoline Leyser, CEO at UK Research and Innovation, said in the press release, “The VMIC is an essential new weapon in the UK’s fight against diseases, ensuring sufficient vaccines get to the public in the fastest possible time. But it’s also part of a unique health research and development capability the UK is developing through a publicly-funded network of centres of excellence, catalysts, and infrastructure that will allow us to meet today’s health challenges—and those of the future.”