Robert Largan MP calls for international collaboration to find vaccine

During an Urgent Question debate with the Health Secretary in the House of Commons, High Peak MP Robert Largan asked for further details about plans for increasing the chances of success for vaccination trials through greater international collaboration.

Following the world’s first successful clinical trial for a Coronavirus treatment, the Government has made the drug Dexamethasone immediately available on the NHS across the UK: a significant breakthrough that could save thousands of lives.
There is strong evidence to show that this drug can significantly reduce the risk of death in Coronavirus patients on ventilation by as much as 35 per cent, and patients on oxygen by 20 per cent. The Government has acted to secure supplies of the drug in the UK and put in place enough treatment for over 200,000 people from stockpiles alone. It has also taken steps to protect the supply for UK patients.

In the House of Commons, Robert Largan MP asked:

“The drug trial breakthrough is fantastic news and will save a huge number of lives, and it is great news that, as the Secretary of State said just now, the drug treatment is already available on the NHS. On the vaccination trials, it is great that Britain is leading the world, but this is a global problem. What steps are we taking to work with vaccination trials across the world so that we can get a vaccine as soon as possible?”

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, responded:

“That is a really important point. Not only do we contribute more to the global vaccination funding programme than any other country—and we hosted the GAVI summit, which raised over £8 billion for global vaccine research—but we are engaged with other countries on the two British vaccine candidates, particularly the Oxford one, because it is so much further advanced. It is the most advanced in the world and the soonest hope for a vaccine, should it come off—touch wood; none of these things is certain. We secured early doses here in the UK, and it was confirmed yesterday that these are being manufactured, with the contract agreed between AstraZeneca and the manufacturer. AstraZeneca is now engaging with countries across the world—in Europe, in the United States where a deal has already been signed, and elsewhere—to ensure that, if the vaccine works, it will be available globally.”

Following the question, Robert Largan MP commented:

“Guided by the science, the UK is leading the way in the global fight against Coronavirus. This country has the best clinical trials, the best vaccine development and the best immunology research in the world.

“Discovering a vaccine is the best way of beating this virus for good. I am glad the Government is working with international partners to solve this puzzle so that life in the High Peak and across the world can return to normal.”