UK scientists to benefit from £25m boost to vaccines research for diseases with epidemic potential including Ebola, Zika and MERS

The Department of Health has announced a multi-million pound funding boost for 22 new vaccines in an intiative which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says will “support the best and brightest minds” in researching vaccines for diseases with epidemic potential such as Ebola, Zika and MERS.

The £25 million of funding will enable many of the winning projects, including SMEs and teams based at leading universities across the country, to start work immediately. These projects will be the latest to benefit from the UK Vaccine Network – a £120 million fund launched after the Ebola crisis to support Britain’s world-leading role in fighting deadly diseases.

The investment has been made available to support teams across the UK, who will receive their share of £10m of upfront support to their projects at an earlier stage of vaccine development, with a further £15m available to support the projects that demonstrate the most early success to take their research to the next stage.

The fund is aimed at the 12 diseases identified by the UK Vaccine Network as a priority:

 

  • Chikungunya
  • Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
  • Ebola
  • Hantavirus
  • Lassa fever
  • Marburg virus
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome
  • Nipah
  • Plague
  • Q fever
  • Rift Valley fever
  • Zika.

 

This latest commitment expands the Department of Health’s existing investment which directly supporting 48 projects to develop 53 vaccines to tackle the world’s most dangerous diseases, as well as five projects supporting technologies to improve the manufacture and administration of vaccines and new diagnostic devices.

According to the Department of Health, the funding will also provide a £7 return on every £1 invested and it is estimated that it will result in the creation of 147 jobs across the country.

Jeremy Hunt said: “The UK is leading the global fight against deadly diseases and we can be proud of the research in British laboratories. Our continued investment will continue to support the best and brightest minds, secure highly skilled research jobs, and make it more likely the next major breakthrough will be discovered in Britain.”