Covid-19 Update

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 3rd March 2020.

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Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

Mr Macdonald is absolutely right: they are global efforts, and those efforts are being pursued with urgency, as members might imagine. Scotland is an active player in those global efforts. From memory—I would be happy to provide Mr Macdonald with more detail on this—I know that the University of Edinburgh, for example, is one of the leaders in some of the trials that are under way. Work is going on here to look for what might be the right vaccine, although we are some months away from that and, as people will appreciate, that will not assist us in the current situation. Work is also under way in which existing antiviral medicines and treatments are being looked at to see whether, with any adaptation, they could be effective against coronavirus, although they might have been developed for another particular virus.

As members would expect, given how successful Scotland is in its research work, including clinical work, in all four of our major universities in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow and in other universities, we are actively engaged in all of that work. Across the UK, an additional £20 million has been contributed to that particular research effort.