UK and Sri Lanka working together in search for Covid-19 vaccine

The UK and Sri Lanka are to work together in search for a Covid-19 vaccine, the British High Commission in Colombo said.

The UK hosted the Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June, bringing together leaders from around the world at a virtual event to pledge their support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took part in a panel discussion on the importance of sustaining vital immunization during pandemics.

High Commissioner UK Sarah Hulton issuing a press statement said, “We are also delighted to announce LKR 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.”

“We are pleased that Sri Lanka participated in the Global Vaccine Summit,” Hulton added.

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 Gavi’s leading donor, and on 29 April our International Development Secretary pledged the equivalent of £330 million a year over the next five years.

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.”

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 this summit today. 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.”

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.