The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) on the University of Oxford Harwell Campus has received a £131m innovation grant from the UK Government.

This funding will be used to further accelerated the completion of the VMIC facility in 2021, a year ahead of schedule, as well as create a ‘virtual VMIC’ that to create a temporary manufacturing centre to quickly expand the UK’s capacity to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine once one is found.

Dr Matthew Duchars, Chief Executive, The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre said: “Today’s announcement by Alok Sharma, [Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy], underscores the Government’s commitment to increase the vaccines infrastructure for the UK and is an endorsement of VMIC’s role in the current and future domestic supply of vaccines.

“We will work with partners to create a ‘virtual VMIC’ to manufacture vaccine for Covid-19 this year, while our permanent facility is still under construction. Our priority will be to create a temporary centre to manufacture millions of doses of vaccine, as soon as a vaccine has been found.”

Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, which has been leading the charge in developing sucessful Covid-19 vaccine, CEO Richard Hatchett added: “The UK has shown great leadership in the global response to Covid-19, providing crucial support for the development of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments against the virus.

“CEPI applauds the UK’s latest pledge to scale-up funding for the VMIC, which comes at a crucial point in the world’s response to the virus.

“This funding will enable the centre to come online much sooner than expected and will hopefully enable it to play an important role in manufacturing safe, effective, and globally accessible vaccines against Covid-19, once they have undergone necessary testing and regulatory approval.”