The UK Government has announced funding of up to £103.5m for the development of affordable new vaccines to combat infectious diseases in developing countries.
The investment – which will be made through the UK Vaccine Network – was announced along with a number of other measures by a government delegation at the UN General Assembly in New York this week.
Other plans include investment of £295m into research and development of technology to respond quickly to disease outbreaks and improve the health of mothers, babies and children in low- and middle-income countries.
According to the government, this will help develop new methods of administering drugs to ‘help ensure life-saving care can reach the most remote-areas’.
A further £95m will be allocated to the Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa Programme II to help detect and tackle future epidemics, drug resistant infections and climate change.
One of the aims of the funding is to help partners – including Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – to prevent and respond rapidly to disease outbreaks with pandemic potential, including Ebola.
In addition, the UK has allocated an extra £5m of funding to the TB Alliance to support the development and testing of new or improved tuberculosis treatments, including for multi-drug resistant TB.
This will bring the UK’s funding for the TB Alliance up to nearly £70m since 2017, the government said.
According to Will Quince, health minister, the investment in global health research is ‘vital to saving lives both at home and abroad’.
He added: ‘Vaccines, drugs and diagnostics can help prevent outbreaks in the developing world, while also limiting spread and protecting populations at home.
‘This UK Vaccine Network investment will help deliver effective and accessible vaccines for populations threatened by infectious diseases and cements the UK’s status as a leader in global health research.’
Andrew Mitchell, minister for international development, said the package shows the UK Government’s commitment to helping achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
‘The UK’s significant support for global health announced at the UN General Assembly this week will be truly transformational in creating more resilient and inclusive health systems worldwide,’ Mr Mitchell added.
Earlier this week, the International Council of Nurses called on the world’s governments to ‘put nursing at the top of their financial plans’, if a target for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), is to be achieved by 2030.