The development of vaccines, antibody treatments, life-saving drugs and several other over the counter (OTC) medicines have been quite momentous in the emergencies and the Covid-19 pandemic-like black swan events.
The UK has apparently emerged as one of the prominent nations that are leading the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic with the help of the widespread inoculations on a daily basis across its different jurisdictions.
Moreover, the UK has somehow managed to arrest the rapidly rising rate of infections and the successive rate of hospital admissions in the last 8 to 12 weeks.
With the planned roadmap of phased easements, the UK remains proactive in taking all-round steps that can further bolster the response against the fatal coronavirus. Notably, the rate of hospitalization has slipped to 2.09 per 100,000 individuals in the 13th week as compared to a rate of 37.20 per 100,000 in 1st week of this year.
Life science fund
In order to reinforce the preparedness in pandemics and Covid-19-like crises, the Boris Johnson government has opened up applications for the life sciences companies that are willing to ramp up their respective manufacturing capacities.
The new £20-million fund, led by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Office for Life Sciences, is designed to support the production of medicines, affordable vaccines, efficacious antibody treatments, further improving the diagnostics infrastructure and Med Tech in the UK.
The monetary support, the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund, has been launched with an intention to make the domestic facilities future-ready for any upcoming pandemics or widespread health hazards. The fund, initially announced by PM Boris Johnson in November 2020, will remain open for applications up until 2359 BST on 30 June.
All the applications received will be considered on a rolling basis as this is an open fund scheme under which the manufacturers can apply for a capital grant of up to £20 million for the production of diagnostics equipment and medicines in the UK.
All private sector manufacturers of medical diagnostics devices, human medicines, and medical technologies (MedTech) are entitled to apply for monetary support for this funding.
The size of the ongoing project should be mandatorily above £8 million to become eligible to receive a capital grant from the government. Applicants are free to submit more than one application, but the second application should be necessarily for different projects.
Interestingly, the UK government has not capped the upper limit on the size of projects as the funding is likely to boost the number of skilled workforces alongside creating better economic opportunities and presenting the UK as one of the leading nations in responding to emergent situations.
The fund is expected to bolster the economic and investment opportunities for the manufacturers in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland as nearly two-thirds of life sciences related production jobs are based outside the South East and London. Besides, the monetary funding will help in effectively improving the supply chains across various domestic channels.
As far as the development around MedTech is concerned, the fund is expected to strengthen the capabilities of the UK that will encourage the corporate entities to build new factories, incorporate green manufacturing at the operational levels, deploy newer technologies in medicine production, and harness advanced technologies for bioprocessing.
Furthermore, the funding support is likely to help the growing manufacturing capacities of the UK, ensuring the accessibility of affordable, safe and efficacious vaccines, universal and equitable access to diagnostics facilities, medicines and antibody treatments in case of future pandemics.
The UK has been one of the strongest health and life sciences industries globally, with a turnover of approximately £80 billion. Following the massive roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, the UK is leading the charge with AstraZeneca-Oxford jab through its various multinational production facilities.