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Coronavirus: Research

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much public funding has been allocated to coronavirus research since the 2002 SARS outbreak; and which organisations received that funding.

Photo of Amanda Solloway Amanda Solloway Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has funded a total of £25,319,783 for activities directly related to coronavirus since the 2002 SARS outbreak. This covers 45 projects across 25 organisations including the Pirbright Institute, the MRC Human Immunology Unit, and the University of Glasgow.

UKRI, along with other government departments, also funds a large amount of research and innovation across connected areas including the social sciences, vaccine manufacturing, and into fundamental biological sciences that are not directly aimed at coronavirus but have a huge impact on our understanding of and ability to respond to infectious diseases and epidemics.

These areas are also supported, in collaboration with other public funders, through groups such as The UK Vaccine Network which was established in June 2015 with £120 million from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and UKRI ODA funding, to support the development of vaccines and vaccine technologies for diseases with epidemic potential.

To support research into the current COVID-19 outbreak DHSC and UKRI have run a rapid response initiative, a further £20 million has been made available to support research to understand the disease, prevent, treat and control it, in order to mitigate the severity of the outbreak. The initiative has two calls i) active intervention development including vaccines and therapeutics, and ii) diagnosis and understanding of COVID-19. Funding panels have met and awards will be announced shortly. The UK has also committed £50 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), which supports MERS-CoV and COVID-19 vaccine development efforts.

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