New UKHSA lab ‘will define future pandemic response’ with pioneering research into COVID-19 vaccines and variants

A new world class UKHSA A research center dedicated to the development and testing of new COVID-19 vaccines has opened at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Porton Down site, Salisbury.

The £27million Robinson Building was officially opened by Health Secretary Sajid Javid and UKHSA CEO, Professor Dame Jenny Harries, on February 17.

The 2-storey, 22,000 square foot building is one of two facilities that make up a new £65 million vaccine evaluation centre, built to help develop and license new vaccines and be a leader testing against future variants of the virus.

The project is fully funded by the Vaccine Taskforce, a joint unit between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Research undertaken at the facility will include:

  • clinical trials to support regulatory licensing of new COVID-19 vaccines
  • research and data collection to inform government decisions on future immunization policies
  • perform risk assessments on variants of concern, including those that may escape the vaccine

Professor Dame Jenny Harries, CEO of UKHSAnoted:

These new world-class facilities will help further establish UKHSA and its Porton Down site as the world leader in vaccine testing and variant research in the fight against COVID-19.

The work undertaken at the Vaccine Assessment Center will define the UK’s future pandemic response as we help develop the next generation of vaccines to protect against this ever-changing virus.

Vaccines are one of the most important weapons we have against COVID-19 and they have prevented countless deaths and hospitalizations during this pandemic. Our teams will use these new facilities to ensure that we remain at the forefront of protection against future threats.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

During the pandemic, our country has earned a global reputation as a pioneer in the development of world-class vaccines and the search for variants.

This state-of-the-art facility is one of two that together make up a new £65million vaccine assessment center that will be key to bolstering the UK’s future response to the pandemic, helping to ensure our safety for years to come.

It is thanks to research at Porton Down and other vital sites across the UK that tens of millions of Britons are being protected from the virus as we learn to live with COVID-19.

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