20 April 2020 | Tiffany Hionas

Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.

 What’s been in the news?

A Vaccine Taskforce will accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine 

As part of the UK’s wider efforts to support the development of a vaccine, a new government-led Vaccine Taskforce will soon be launched to drive forward the manufacturing and research efforts to fight the virus. 

The government will review regulations to facilitate fast and safe vaccine trials, as well as operational plans, to ensure a vaccine can be produced at a large scale when it becomes available. Industry and academic institutions will be given the resources and support needed. 

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said, 'UK scientists are working as fast as they can to find a vaccine that fights coronavirus, saving and protecting people’s lives. We stand firmly behind them in their efforts. The Vaccine Taskforce is key to coordinating efforts to rapidly accelerate the development and manufacture of a potential new vaccine.’


Warning against the unapproved antibody testing kits

Professor John Newton, national coordinator of the UK coronavirus testing programme, has warned that unapproved antibody tests could provide inaccurate results. Such results can put people at risk of contracting and transmitting the virus. 

The government, currently working with several companies who are developing antibody tests, is supporting their work to deliver a reliable and accurate antibody testing kit. So far, there has not been an antibody test proven to be sufficiently accurate, therefore, the government is now backing industry efforts to develop a homegrown test.  

ProfessorJohn Newton, said, 'No country in the world has yet found an antibody test reliable enough to work as a back-to-work diagnostic, but the UK is leading the way in this emerging area of science and technology, and companies and scientists are doing everything they can to improve the accuracy of the tests on the market.’

 Coronavirus vaccine

COVID-19: Roundup Week 3 

As Covid-19 continues to spread across the globe, we round up some of the innovative steps being taken by businesses in the pharmaceutical and chemical sector to aid those on the frontline of this global crisis.

Read more here.

 Covid-19 virus

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 08 May 2020

Deadline: 01 May 2020

Deadline: 30 April 2020

Funding competitions

Apply for a share of £2 million for innovative projects that enhance productivity.   

Apply for a share of up to £5 million to fund an innovation project. 

Deadline: 20 May 2020 

Apply for a share of up to £4 million for collaborative R&D projects to solver major cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things

Deadline: 13 May 2020

Apply for funding in innovation projects across 3 streams. 

Deadline: 28 April 2020

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