Funding for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine almost entirely from the public purse

A review into how money was raised to develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has revealed almost all funding came from the public purse or charitable trusts. The review challenges suggestions, including from the Prime Minister, that vaccines' speedy development was down to greed and capitalism.

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Funding for Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine almost entirely from the public purse
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Following an extensive review into the funding of the development of the lifesaving Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, it has been revealed most of the money came from the public purse and charitable trusts. The review into funding went back over two decades to determine where the money has been coming from to conduct the research that eventually led to the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine becoming a reality.

Two different methods were used to conduct the study, and these looked at ways in which research was funded over the past two decades. The study revealed that at least 97% of funding since 2000 came from taxpayers or charitable trusts. In total, hundreds of millions of pounds have been paid in research grants over the years and for funding the development of vaccines themselves.

Fraction of money came from private funding

The data showed that less than 2% of funding came from private investors. According to researchers, this poses a challenge to views some have expressed over the development speed of the vaccine being down to pure greed. This view has not only been expressed by the pharmaceutical industry but also by the Prime Minister.

Researchers from Universities Allied for Essential Medicines UK said, “Our study shows that quite the opposite is true: public investment and international collaboration gave us the Covid-19 vaccines.” 

Researchers also added, “We need to stop perpetuating the narrative in which the private sector and profit are the sole drivers of innovation and recognise that the lifesaving ChAdOx vaccine technology was developed with near-total governmental and charitable funding.” 

Early version of report already revealed

The study is yet to be peer reviewed, but an early version has already been revealed online.

While specifics relating to the exact amount from each source were not determined as part of the review, researchers were able to look at where the majority of the funding came from. The most significant amount of funding came from overseas governments and the European Union. This was followed by funding from within the UK and from charitable trusts.

During the pandemic, the UK government provided an additional £33 million in funding, becoming the most significant contributor of research funding.

Image Credit: Mika Baumeister at Unsplash

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