Pharma News

New hubs receive over £32m to improve access to vaccines in LMICs

Communicable diseases account for 50% of all deaths in LMICs

The UK’s Minister for health and secondary care, Will Quince, has launched four new hubs to address the challenges of vaccine manufacturing and delivery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The hubs will unite researchers worldwide as part of the UK Vaccine Network project to develop vaccines for diseases with epidemic potential in LMICs using lessons learnt from the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Globally, communicable disease epidemics are still a major threat to public health.

In LMICs, they are responsible for 50% of all deaths and it is estimated that 25 million children are under- or unvaccinated.

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided a share of £33m of UK aid funding to the hubs, as well as a further £1.5m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Researchers from Imperial College London (ICL) have received a total of £17m to lead and develop two hubs to improve global access to life-saving vaccines.

The first hub, led by ICL’s professor Robin Shattock received £10.5m to accelerate the manufacture and deployment of cost-effective vaccines for the next 4.5 years.

An additional £6.5m has been awarded to the second hub led by professor Faith Osier at ICL to boost the African vaccine manufacturing ecosystem.

The two other hubs include the vaccine manufacturing hub for LMIC (Vax-Hub-Global), led by University College London and the University of Oxford, and the University of Sheffield’s UK-south-east Asia-vaccine manufacturing research hub.

Professor Miles Padgett, interim executive chair of EPSRC, said: “These hubs will improve immunisation in LMICs by addressing challenges in the way vaccines are made and delivered.”

Quince commented: “These innovative partnerships between British universities and vaccine developers… will ensure vaccines are accessible to everyone in need, and allow us to future-proof health systems both here and abroad by accelerating the availability of new vaccines for future pandemics.”

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