Cambridge company AstraZeneca to make 30 million doses of coronavirus vaccine - if it works

AstraZeneca in Cambridge. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will make 30 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by September, if it's proved it works.

The drugs giant has signed a global licensing agreement with Oxford University to manufacture a potential vaccine, known as the 'Oxford vaccine.'

Business Secretary Alok Sharma revealed the news at the government briefing on Sunday and announced that a further £84 million in new funding would be made available to accelerate work towards finding a vaccine.

The Government has already invested £47 million in vaccine programmes at Oxford and Imperial College London.

He said: “This new money will help mass-produce the Oxford vaccine so that if current trials are successful we have dosages to start vaccinating the UK population straight away.”

Oxford University finished their first phase of human trials this week, with around 1,000 people having been vaccinated so far.

If the vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca would make up to 30 million doses available by September, and 100 million does in total.

Mr Sharma said that the UK would be the first country to get access to the vaccine.

"This deal with AstraZeneca means that if the Oxford University vaccine works, people in the UK will get the first access to it, helping to protect thousands of lives," he said.

"The agreement will deliver 100 million doses in total, ensuring that in addition to supporting our own people, we are able to make the vaccines available to developing countries at the lowest possible cost."

However, he warned that there's no guarantee that it will work and said it was possible the UK would "need to look at other drug treatments and therapeutics for those who get the virus."

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