The European Commission today announced £220 million of funding for research into Ebola vaccines and treatments.
South East Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, who has repeatedly called on the EU to step up investment into Ebola research, said the new funding would give a "major boost" to the Ebola vaccine trial taking place at the Jenner Institute at Oxford University.
Mrs Bearder commented:
"I am delighted that the Commission has responded to calls for funding to be made rapidly available for research into Ebola.
"I have seen first-hand the important work being done at the Jenner Institute in Oxford in developing an Ebola vaccine.
"Securing this major boost to funding will allow researchers to develop and manufacture a vaccine as soon as possible so it can be distributed to high-risk areas, save lives and help contain the outbreak."
Half the funding will come from the EU's research programme, Horizon 2020, and half from the European pharmaceutical industry. The research will involve large-scale clinical trials of new vaccines in the Ebola-affected countries and new approaches to manufacture and distribute vaccines. Professor Adrian Hill, who is leading the Ebola vaccine trial at the Jenner Institute, confirmed that this will be an important opportunity for further funding for vaccine developers such as his team.
Funding applications opened today and will use a fast-track procedure in order to get successful projects up and running by early next year.
Professor Adrian Hill commented:
"If the rapid progress of our trial in Oxford and parallel trials taking place in Lausanne and Bamako, Mali continues it will be possible to define the safety profile and optimal vaccine dose next month allowing critical very large scale trials of the efficacy of the vaccine to start immediately afterwards in affected countries.
"These ongoing vaccine trials are part of an unprecedented global vaccine development effort supported by many parties with European teams playing key roles. The European Commission funding announced today will be a major contribution to this expensive effort to develop and deploy a life-saving vaccine against Ebola."