Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.
What’s been in the news?
Dexamethasone approved for NHS
The UK government has authorised the NHS to use an anti-inflammatory drug, known as dexamethasone, to treat all UK hospitalised Covid-19 patients requiring oxygen.
Through a government-funded UK trial, the results have proven the drug’s efficacy at reducing the risk of death for Covid-19 patients. The data revealed that the risk of death in Covid-19 patients on ventilation declined by as much as 35% and patients on oxygen by 20%, reducing the total 28-day mortality rate by 17%.
Anticipating the outcome, the government has bought additional stocks of the drug, securing enough supply to treat over 200,000 people.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added that; ‘From today the standard treatment for COVID-19 will include dexamethasone, helping save thousands of lives while we deal with this terrible virus.’
To ensure adequate supply of the drug across all NHS healthcare settings; the government has added dexamethasone to the list of medicines which must not be parallel exported from the UK.
EU’s COVID-19 vaccines plan
The European Commission is to negotiate covid-19 vaccines contracts on behalf of all member states. The Commission has urged countries to be patient with securing supplies, as it is crucial the EU does not enter harmful competition to avoid a situation where some countries are left without vaccines.
To secure access to supplies, advance purchase agreements will be made to vaccine developers and will vary according to the cost of manufacture. Each member state will have the right to buy the necessary volumes relative to the size of their populations and for a certain price.
Brussels aims to coordinate the negotiation of advance purchase agreements, with an EU official adding; ‘Competition between all of us doesn’t make any sense. If we pool the demand of 27, we have more leverage and can secure better conditions from vaccine makers.’
Transatlantic cooperation takes UK space plans forward
The UK and US have signed an agreement whereby US space and technology companies throughout the supply chain can contribute to and benefit from the commercial opportunities offered by the space sector in the UK. The agreement will enable US companies to participate in launches from UK space ports.
Read more here.
Help inform the development of an England tree strategy to support nature recovery, clean growth and the commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Deadline: 4 September 2020
DHSC and UKRI have launched a rolling call for proposals for research into covid-19. Research should cover an understanding of the disease, prevention and management of the covid-19 outbreak.
Deadline: 1 April 2021
As part of the Chancellor’s £1.25Bn support package, £750m R&D funding (as grants and loans) will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme. First payments will be made available mid-May.
Deadline: Not released
Apply to repurpose your grant to support research into covid-19.
Deadline: Not specified
Deadline: Not specified
Apply to win funding for early-stage, design projects to reduce plastics’ harm to the environment.
Deadline: 16 September
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £30 million for UK-developed late stage R&D, to support the automotive sector and the development of technologies capable of low emissions.
Deadline: 8 July