London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the Mologic laboratory in Bedford (UK), the other day also announced new funding in fight againstspread of coronavirus.
The laboratory is developing a new rapid diagnostic test for coronavirus with support fromUK aid.
A United Kingdom (UK) government statement issued here today said, the global race to find a vaccine for coronavirus would be bolstered by support announced by the Prime Minister on Friday, funded by the UK’s international development budget.
The statement said the new £46 million package included funding for urgent work to find a coronavirus vaccine and develop a rapid test for the disease.
The British Prime Minister Friday visited a lab in Bedfordshire where British scientists were using expertise and experience from previous epidemics to create a quicker and cheaper way to diagnose coronavirus British experts, funded by Government, were on the front line of the global fight against coronavirus, working to prevent the spread of the disease into and around the UK.
Efforts form part of the Government’s four-phased approach to contain, delay,mitigate and research coronavirus.
Supported by UK funding, eight possible coronavirus vaccines were currently under development and efforts were being made to get any viable vaccines from sequencing of the virus to clinical testing in under a year – a record timeframe.
The UK Government statement said that the Governments around the world could then work with pharmaceutical companies to get vaccines into production and use.
Today’s additional support will bring the UK’s investment into COVID-19 vaccine research to £ 65 million, the statemnet said.
The statement further said UK experts were leading the scientific and medical response to the global coronavirus outbreak and the UK was one of the first countries to establish a laboratory test for the virus.
However, no country has yet found a method of diagnosing coronavirus without sending samples to a lab for testing – a process that can take several days, the statement added.
“Today the Prime Minister visited Mologic lab in Bedfordshire which is using UK aid funding to develop rapid diagnostic test devices for coronavirus to allow medical professionals or potentially even individuals at home to identify the disease quickly without relying on specialist facilities”, the statement said.
This, it said would mean patients can be treated more quickly, reducing the risk of them passing the virus onto others and helping them to recover quickly.
“The lab is building on extensive experience creating similar tests for other infections”, it added.
The UK statement said that efforts to develop a diagnostic test form part of the Government’s work to limit the spread of the virus, investing in and informed by scientific research.
It added that a rapid diagnostic test can also be used by countries around the world that were not currently able to diagnose the virus at all.
To ensure access to the technology, the test would therefore be jointly manufactured in the UK and Senegal — the first time a diagnostic has been produced in the continent, supported by UK aid funding.
The statement further said today’s announcement builds on the plan set out by the Prime Minister earlier this week to tackle coronavirus in the UK.
The Government, it said was doing everything possible, based on the advice ofworld-leading scientific experts, to prepare for all eventualities.
“This plan has four strands – containing the virus, delaying its spread, researching its origins and cure, and mitigating the impact should the virus become more widespread”,it said.
The UK Government statement said that today’s funding package, which included support for the World Health Organization’s Flash Appeal, would also help vulnerable countries prepare for the spread of the disease in other ways.
The UK-funded infectious disease experts were working in developing countries which have large urban populations and transport links to the UKand to China and other countries experiencing more patients.
Experts would support countries to prepare for and respond to suspected cases, for example by creating effective isolation zones.
International efforts were being coordinated by a new UK Government Coronavirus International Taskforce, bringing together expertise from the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
“Coronavirus is the biggest threat in countries whose healthcare systems are unable to cope with large outbreaks”, ensuring those countries have mechanisms in place will prevent a surge of cases which would also present risks to us at home”.
“Today’s announcement brings the UK’s total support to fight the virus internationallyto £ 91 million”, it said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:”Keeping the British people safe is my number one priority, and that’s why I’ve set out our four-part plan to contain, delay, mitigate and research coronavirus”.
`”We are ensuring the country is prepared for the current outbreak, guided by the science at every stage. But we also need to invest now in researching the vaccines that could help prevent future outbreaks”, he remarked.