Covid 19 & the UK response

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

The global race to find a vaccine for coronavirus will be bolstered by support announced by the Prime Minister today, funded by the UK’s international development budget.

  • New £46 million package includes funding for urgent work to find a coronavirus vaccine and develop a rapid test for the disease

The package of £46 million announced today is made up of:

  • Up to £20 million for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to support vaccine development. This is in addition to the £30 million commitment that the UK has already made to CEPI, bringing the UK’s total commitment to £50 million.
  • Up to £5 million through the Joint Initiative on Research for Epidemic Preparedness in collaboration with Wellcome to develop quicker diagnosis methods and perform other essential research for disease control. This is in addition to the £20 million rapid response research call for novel coronavirus research launched on 4 February 2020.
  • Up to £16 million for humanitarian partners to help the most vulnerable countries prepare for coronavirus. This includes £5 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; £5 million to UNICEF to support infection prevention and access to safe water; and £6 million for extra support for other partners, including for medics and supplies.
  • £5m for the WHO’s flash appeal. This is in addition to the £5 million commitment that the UK has already made to the appeal.

Mologic awarded c.£1 million by UK government to develop rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19

Mologic Ltd, a leading developer of lateral flow and rapid diagnostic technologies, today announced that it has been awarded circa £1 million by the Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DFID), as part of the UK government’s £46 million international coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and research funding package. The funding will be used by Mologic and global partners, to develop a point-of-need diagnostic test for the virus, in addition to supporting the Company to initiate research for novel vaccine candidates. 

The company is working in close partnership with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar to validate and manufacture the COVID-19 test at a new manufacturing site, DiaTropix, in Senegal. This will be the first time that a diagnostics kit created in the UK will be jointly manufactured in Africa, to ensure its immediate availability, to manage any potential outbreaks on the continent, and further international spread. Global validation partners include; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and St George’s, University of London in Europe; the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the University of Malaya in Asia; and for Latin America, Fiocruz.