Oxfordshire has once again proven itself a world leader in medical advances, following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recent recommendation of a new, highly effective, Malaria vaccine.
The Novavax R21/Matrix-M vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford is showing real promise in stemming the spread of Malaria, with at least 75% efficacy in preventing disease.
It is the first viable vaccine of its kind, suitable for development and distribution at scale and pace, as a cost effective, preventative measure against the mosquito-borne disease – which currently claims over half a million of lives annually.
This ground-breaking innovation illustrates Oxfordshire’s continued international leadership in the life sciences sector and the value it adds to the UK economy.
Furthermore, it marks a crucial next step, following on from the pivotal role the county played in the fight against the global coronavirus pandemic and the success of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine.
These discoveries, and the high-level problem-solving taking place within Oxfordshire, have contributed to establishing the life sciences sector as one of UK’s most successful industries. In fact, recent government figures reveal the sector was worth over £94 billion to the UK economy in 2021, a 9% increase on the year before, and employs over 280,000 people nationally.
This is something we, as a nation, must capitalise on to ensure we retain our position as a leading force in the global healthcare economy, particularly as international competition increases.
As the local enterprise partnership for Oxfordshire, it is our role to champion key sectors like life sciences and to support investment opportunities across these fields.
We will continue our work with central government, our local authority partners, our universities and business community to support our economy further, to position Oxfordshire as a global leader in science and innovation, help businesses to attract major investment and draw-in more world-class talent supporting further discoveries, such as these life-changing vaccines, to happen.
I am incredibly proud to know that Oxfordshire has once more created a world-leading response to the management, and hopefully eradication, of diseases such as Malaria, inspiring similar discoveries – and indeed, inspiring people – well into the future.