The Oxford coronavirus vaccine – which is being manufactured at Keele following an agreement between Cobra Biologics and AstraZeneca UK – has today been administered to the first patient by the NHS.
Cobra Biologics, which has two facilities on Keele University’s Science and Innovation Park, is providing large-scale manufacturing capacity for the vaccine, along with other consortium members.
The production agreement is part of a programme with the University of Oxford to ensure broad and equitable supply of the vaccine throughout the world, at no profit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first vaccinations will be delivered at a small number of hospitals for the first few days, before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GP-led services later in the week.
Professor Mark Ormerod, Keele University Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, said: “It’s clearly a challenging time, but the rollout of the AstraZeneca Oxford Vaccine is a hugely significant and positive development. Cobra Biologics based on our Science & Innovation Park are key to the vaccine’s manufacture and rollout.”
Cobra Biologics were recently awarded the ‘Keele University Science and Innovation Park Company of the Year’ at the Breaking the Mould Awards 2020.
After being named as winner, Peter Coleman, Chief Executive of Cobra Biologics said: “I am incredibly proud of Cobra and everything we do. We’ve been doing what we do on the Keele campus for 30 years, and what we specialise in has been given a global profile this year.
“The recent clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine are an important moment, but I think everyone is happy with the positive news about all the vaccines. We’re in a situation where everyone just wants to get back to normal again, and we’re also working on an additional five promising follow-up vaccines that will hopefully enable us to do so.”
For more information on what Keele University is doing as part of the national effort to tackle Covid-19, visit keele.ac.uk/coronavirus/response.