UK government unveils COVID-19 vaccination task force

The UK government launched a coronavirus vaccination task force Friday to accelerate the search for a vaccine to contain the rapidly spreading pandemic, an official said.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced that the specialized unit combines government, academia and industry.

“This task force is up and running,” he said at a press conference. “[It] coordinates the efforts of government academia and industry toward a single goal to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine.”

The unit aims to “position the UK as a leader in clinical vaccine testing and manufacturing” by backing “Britain’s most promising research” in order to make a vaccine “available to the public as quickly as possible,” Sharma said.

He added that the task force will “facilitate trials that are both rapid and well-supervised.”

Researchers from around the world are scrambling to find an effective vaccine for COVID-19, and have developed techniques ranging from Band-Aid-like microneedle stickers to traditional shots in the arm.

Several of them are about to start human trials but experts say widespread vaccine use may still be at least two years away.

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