The United Kingdom and Sri Lanka are working together in search for a Covid-19 vaccine, the UK High Commission in Sri Lanka said today.
High Commissioner Sarah Hulton said they are also delighted to announce Rs.10 million in new funding to support vital immunology research between scientists at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford and the University of Sri Jayawardenepura who are studying the immune response of Covid-19 patients in different populations.
The announcement followed the Global Vaccine Summit hosted by the UK yesterday which brought together leaders from around the world at a virtual event to pledge their support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The Global Vaccine Summit aimed to help Gavi save up to 8 million lives over the next five years and to protect 300 million more children against infectious diseases like measles.
The Global Vaccine Summit raised US$8.8 billion from 32 donor governments, 12 foundations, corporations and organisations, far exceeding the US$7.4 billion target.
Gavi is a crucial partner in the fight against infectious diseases globally, including coronavirus. With the support of UK aid, Gavi has immunized over 760 million children in the world’s poorest countries, saving more than 133 million lives.
“It is critical that we maintain routine immunization during the course of the coronavirus pandemic to stop the spread of infectious diseases and the resurgence of other pandemics. The UK is proud to be Gavi’s leading donor, and on April 29 our International Development Secretary pledged the equivalent of £330 million a year over the next five years,” the High Commission said.
Meanwhile, International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the world is quite rightly focusing on responding to the invisible killer that is coronavirus.
“But we cannot allow this pandemic to disrupt routine immunization in some of the world’s poorest countries and cause other deadly diseases to spread across the globe,” she said.
This builds on our recent role as co-lead for the Global Coronavirus Response Initiative, which successfully raised 7.4 billion euros towards vaccines, tests and treatment to tackle the virus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain has been honoured to host the summit. “You can count on our full contribution as together we rise to fulfil the greatest shared endeavour of our lifetime - the triumph of humanity over disease, now and for the generations that follow. As we make the choice today to unite and forge a path of global co-operation, let us also renew our collective resolve to find the vaccine that can defeat coronavirus,” he said.
The High Commission said the UK is committed to a fully coordinated international response to mitigate the global impact of COVID-19 and prevent a pandemic of this scale in the future.
“We recognize the need to share lessons and work together, drawing on the best of global science and evidence. That is why we are pleased that Sri Lanka participated in the Global Vaccine Summit. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took part in a panel discussion on the importance of sustaining vital immunization during pandemics,” it said.