22:48 GMT07 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom government has announced that it will invest more than 100 million pounds ($126.9 million) in a new facility that will speed up the mass production of a vaccine against COVID-19, according to a press release on Thursday.

    "This new Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre, alongside crucial investment in skills, will support our efforts to rapidly produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine while ensuring the UK can respond quickly to potential future pandemics", Alok Sharma, the UK business secretary, said.

    The government has already given significant investment to the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre in Oxford, which is also under construction.

    Also on Thursday, the UK Department for International Development announced that the government will double its funding, up to 10 million pounds, to help combat the spread of the disease in refugee camps across the world.

    "The British people have been incredibly generous and compassionate in donating to this life-saving appeal. To double the impact of their kindness the UK Government will match a further £5 million of donations pound-for-pound", International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said in a press release.

    An appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of UK charities, has raised 9.8 million pounds in just nine days, the government said.

    The government's investment in the country's vaccine producing facilities comes after University of Oxford scientists announced on Monday that a candidate vaccine has shown its ability to stimulate the production of antibodies and virus-fighting T-cells during the first phase of clinical trials.

    The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre is scheduled to open in the southeastern town of Braintree in December 2021 and will have the capacity to produce millions of doses of a successful vaccine against the disease each month, the government said.

    Tags:
    vaccine, coronavirus, COVID-19, UK
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