May 1st: On Thursday, Oxford University and its biotech spin-out Vaccitech announced an agreement with the UK-based global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for the further development, large-scale manufacture and potential distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate currently being trialled by the University.

The partnership is to begin immediately with the final terms being agreed in the coming weeks. This will allow for rapid vaccination around the world if the COVID-19 vaccine candidate proves to be effective. The vaccine candidate was developed by the University’s Jenner Institute who began trials in humans last week.

It is the first such partnership to be formed since the Government launched its dedicated Vaccines Taskforce to help find, test, and deliver a new coronavirus vaccine just two weeks ago. It also comes alongside £20 million Government funding for Oxford University’s vaccine research and support for the institution’s clinical trials. The partners have agreed to operate on a not-for-profit basis for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, with only the costs of production and distribution being covered.