Boris kicks off major new science initiative during visit to National Institute for Biological Standards and Control

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The Prime Minister Boris Johnson visit MHRA Labs in South Mimms during Covid-19. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has kicked off a major new science initiative at a visit of MHRA’s National Institute for Biological Standards and Control today. The Prime Minister was able to see first-hand the pivotal role NIBSC has played in getting safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to the UK public during the pandemic.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) world-leading National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) in Hertfordshire was the Prime Minister’s chosen launchpad for a new initiative to cement the UK’s position as a science superpower. The exciting plans are set to capitalise on the excellence of UK science throughout the pandemic and beyond, such as that carried out by the NIBSC in relation to COVID-19 vaccine quality control, COVID-19 testing and the essential reference materials to support safe availability of life-saving medicines around the world.

The Prime Minister’s visit today was hosted by the MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine and acting Director of the NIBSC Dr Marc Bailey. During his visit, the Prime Minister saw first-hand the pivotal role NIBSC has played in assuring the quality of every single COVID-19 vaccine in the UK during the pandemic and heard about the vital work being carried out at NIBSC, which has now tested 93 batches of COVID-19 vaccines and certificated over 90 million vaccine doses for use.

Boris Johnson also saw the essential laboratory work which supports NIBSC’s leading global role in helping to determine the final flu vaccine composition each year. The NIBSC is part of the MHRA and plays a leading role in assuring the quality of biological medicines worldwide, producing over 95% of the World Health Organization’s biological standards that are used globally.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

The brilliant scientists and staff at the MHRA have been instrumental in getting our vaccine programme off the ground, transforming lives through science, while ensuring the British people have confidence in the safety of our vaccines.

It was fantastic to see this work first-hand at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control and hear more about the impact they have far beyond the pandemic, including in helping protect us against the flu each year.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson visit MHRA Labs in South Mimms during Covid-19. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive said:

We were delighted to welcome the Prime Minister today and are pleased to be recognised as a leader in UK science.

The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, part of the MHRA, has played a pivotal role in getting safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to the UK public during this pandemic.

But our remit goes far beyond the pandemic. We have the largest stem cell bank in the UK, and we play a leading role in helping to assure the quality of thousands of medicines and medical devices worldwide, and in deciding the composition of flu vaccines used each year. These are just a few examples of our ongoing work.

We look forward to continuing this world-leading work to help cement the UK as a science superpower for the public good.

Source: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

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