• Nitten Gokhaley

Britain's TOP SECRET research lab gets £29.3 million to study coronavirus variants

  • Britain has declared an investment of more than £29.3 million in funding for developing vaccines and fighting new variants of the coronavirus.

  • Most of the concerned investment goes towards expanding genome sequencing and vaccine testing in the Porton Down Research laboratory.

  • Experts say this is crucial to stay ahead of the virus that would continue to mutate during the coming months and years.

The Indian Double Mutant, Kent, and South African variants are creating havoc. Current vaccines do appear to work against most versions of the virus that are in circulation worldwide. However, the virus is still constantly changing, and it might mutate enough to escape the current immunity at some point. Thus, the UK Govt is investing more in vaccine research. They have already promised £20 million earlier, plus, the new plan involves an infusion of £29.3 million as per BBC report.

Porton Down-Research Lab (Image credit: BBC)

Earlier, the lab was referred to as a top-secret research center for studying explosives and cyber-security, chemical weapons, ballistics. These days, the top military research laboratory, Porton Down research lab, is often in the headlines as it is a hub where scientists check the effectiveness of current vaccines against various variants.

Professor Isabel Oliver, Director for PHE's National Infection Service, said, "New facilities would double the lab's capacity. The new variants are a significant concern in the world's fight against the virus. The infusion of funds will enable scientists to check 3,000 samples per week and measure the percentage of antibodies generated by different vaccines against the virus."

The Government is also creating plans for booster vaccine programs ahead of winter. The use of updated vaccines during such drives is crucial to match the needs arising due to emerging variants.

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