Getting prevention in government hands: UK Parliament plans big national vaccine investment

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Author: Philip Hunter
Date: Nov. 3, 2003
From: The Scientist(Vol. 17, Issue 21)
Publisher: Scientist Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 747 words

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The UK government is studying a proposal from its own Health Protection Agency, supported by prominent members of Parliament, to invest at least $50 million (US) in a national vaccine center capable of rapid response to large-scale bioterrorism attacks and unexpected epidemics of viral or bacterial diseases.

According to Ian Gibson, head of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, it is now nearly certain that the government will fund a massive expansion of its current vaccine manufacturing capability run by the HPA's Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) at Porton Down near Salisbury. "We need a proper center where we can develop vaccines very rapidly," Gibson says. "It should be a government-financed initiative, which can have some support from the private sector but shouldn't be left to the pharmaceutical industry to run."

The growing threat of bioterrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks provided the initial impetus for the HPA's proposal, but the wider objective of obtaining some independence from the private sector soon emerged. No major vaccine manufacturing capability exists within the United Kingdom, either privately...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A110961531