Covid-19 vaccine might not come to fruition: Boris Johnson

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on May 18, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson   -  REUTERS

The United Kingdom is one of the countries that is leading the race to develop an antidote against the deadly contagion. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday warned that a successful vaccine against coronavirus is a “very long way” off, Hindustan Times reported.

His statement came at a time when Oxford has already begun human trials of the vaccine.

Johnson has been criticized for his vague guidelines on lifting the restrictions which have led to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland retaining the widely effective ‘stay home’ message, while England has moved to ‘stay alert’, which indicates some relief.

Johnson accepted that there is ‘frustration’ over the complex curbs, and wrote in The Mail on Sunday: “I said we would throw everything we could at finding a vaccine. There remains a very long way to go, and I must be frank that a vaccine might not come to fruition.”

“But we are leading the global effort. Some of the most promising research into vaccines is happening right here in the UK - and this weekend we are announcing a £93 million investment to open the new Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre a full 12 months ahead of schedule,” he added.

The Prime Minister maintained that the under-construction facility can produce enough vaccine to treat the entire population of the UK within six months. The funding will ensure the centre opens in summer 2021, a year ahead of schedule.

The new centre will be located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. This will be the country’s first not-for-profit organization established to develop and advance the mass production of vaccines.

The centre will also look into the production of vaccines for existing illnesses such as the flu virus.

Business secretary Alok Sharma said as cited in the Hindustan Times report: “As the biggest contributor to the international coalition to find a vaccine, the UK is leading the global response. Once a breakthrough is made, we need to be ready to manufacture a vaccine by the millions.”

As of Saturday, the UK-wide death was 34,466, with a cumulative number of 240,161 cases.

Published on May 18, 2020

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