Scotland Leads the UK’s Vaccine Effort
A new manufacturing facility in Livingston, West Lothian, will be at the heart of the United Kingdom (UK) efforts to produce a new coronavirus vaccine thanks to a multi-million-pound investment to secure early access to 60 million doses of an innovative vaccine candidate.
The investment, made between the UK government and biotech company Valneva, will advance Scotland’s vaccine manufacturing capacity and support highly skilled jobs for scientists and technicians at the West Lothian site, announced the UK on August 5, 2020.
If Valneva’s vaccine candidate VLA2001 is proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials, the expanded Scotland facility could potentially supply up to 100 million vaccine doses to the UK and internationally.
VLA2001 is a highly purified, inactivated vaccine candidate against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that uses manufacturing technology from Valneva’s Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine. The inactivation process preserves the structure of the virus’ S protein and is expected to induce a strong immune response.
The committed investment will be highlighted by the UK the Business Secretary Alok Sharma on a visit to Valneva’s facility in West Lothian today, ensuring the vaccine can be manufactured at scale to protect millions of people in priority groups, such as health and social care workers and those at increased health risk.
Secretary Sharma is scheduled to witness first-hand the ground-breaking work already taking place at the Livingston manufacturing facility and hear about the significant efforts being made to increase capacity at the site.
The Livingston facility is in addition to the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire thanks to further investment from the UK government. When completed in summer 2021, the VMIC facility will have a flexible capacity to manufacture millions of vaccine doses at scale.
The UK government has also reached an existing global licensing agreement signed with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to research, develop, and manufacture 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for the British public.
As well as a partnership with BioNTech and Pfizer for 30 million doses if their trials are successful.
And just last week, an agreement was reached with GSK and Sanofi to secure 60 million doses of their vaccine candidate.
A further £40 million government investment has been given to Imperial College London to develop their vaccine candidate, which is now being trialed with more than 200 people across 6 locations.
These initiatives further boost the UK’s chances of having access to effective immunizations.
The 4 different vaccine candidates that the UK government has secured access are as follows:
- adenoviral vaccines (Oxford/AZ)
- mRNA vaccines (BioNTech/Pfizer & Imperial)
- inactivated whole virus vaccines (Valneva)
- protein adjuvant vaccines (GSK/Sanofi)
In addition, the UK has secured rights to AstraZeneca’s antibody treatment to neutralize the virus which can be used both as a short term prophylactic for those people who cannot receive vaccines, such as cancer, and immunosuppressed patients.
As of August 5, 2020, an updated vaccine development listing is published by CoronavirusToday.
Precision Vaccinations publishes coronavirus vaccine development news.