The UK Government has pledged £20 million to help develop new vaccines against the world's deadliest infectious diseases, including the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.
The funding will be directed to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations which was inaugurated in Davos in 2017, with a key focus on vaccine development.
The new funding will support research and development work for new vaccines, including three new programmes to develop vaccines against the 2019-nCoV. The projects aim to push 2019-nCoV vaccine candidates into trials at the earliest. The CEPI is expecting 16 weeks for a vaccine candidate to move from the pathogen gene sequencing stage to clinical testing, and two to four months for the phase 1 clinical trials.
Additionally, the Government is in early stages of discussions between the National Institute for Health Research and the UK Research and Innovation regarding plans to implement a rapid research call as a part of the global response to 2019-nCoV.
Dr Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer of CEPI, said: "CEPI welcomes the UK’s continued support and funding for our vital work, which comes at a crucial moment as the world races to respond to the emergence of a novel coronavirus."