AstraZeneca and Oxford University announce landmark agreement for COVID-19 vaccine
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford today announced an agreement for the global development and distribution of the University’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection from SARS-CoV-2.
Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca, said: “As COVID-19 continues its grip on the world, the need for a vaccine to defeat the virus is urgent. This collaboration brings together the University of Oxford’s world-class expertise in vaccinology and AstraZeneca’s global development, manufacturing and distribution capabilities. Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalisation of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation.”
The potential vaccine entered Phase I clinical trials last week to study safety and efficacy in healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years, across five trial centres in Southern England. Data from the Phase I trial could be available next month. Advancement to late-stage trials should take place by the middle of this year. Read full article.
Appointment of New British Ambassador to the United States
Dame Karen Pierce DCMG, currently Ambassador to the UN in New York and Permanent Representative at the UN Security Council, has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States of America, by HM The Queen, after the Prime Minister approved the successful candidate on the recommendation of the Foreign Secretary.
Karen Pierce is one of the UK’s most experienced senior diplomats and will be the first woman to serve as HM Ambassador to the US.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called her "an outstanding and accomplished diplomat", tweeting: "I can think of no better person to drive forward our hugely important relationship with the United States at this time."
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “It is a time of huge opportunity for the friendship between the UK and US and I am delighted that Karen Pierce will take forward this exciting new chapter in our relationship. We’re proud to be sending to Washington such an outstanding diplomat, and I warmly congratulate her on her appointment”.
Karen Pierce said “I am honoured to have been asked to represent the UK in the US. I think it is the UK’s single most important relationship. There is a deep bond between Britain and the US, built on many pillars. We have a fantastic cross-Government team across the US and I look forward to working with them to strengthen and even further deepen the special relationship between our two countries and peoples”
Karen Pierce has been the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York since March 2018. Prior to this role, Karen served as the Director General for Political Affairs and Chief Operating Officer of the Foreign and Commonwealth in London, from 2016.
Karen joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1981. Her first role was in Tokyo between 1984 and 1987, after which she returned to the UK to work in the Security Policy Department. Karen worked in Washington as the Private Secretary to the British Ambassador to the United States between 1992 and 1995.
Between 1996 and 2006, Karen held several positions in London including Team Leader for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Deputy Head of Eastern Adriatic (Balkans) Department, Head of Newsroom, Head of EU Department (Bilateral) and concurrently Head of Afghanistan Political Military Unit after 9/11 before returning to the Balkans as Balkans Coordinator from 2002 to 2006.
In 2006, Karen moved to New York for the first time to be the Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador at the UK Mission to the UN. In 2009, she returned to London to become the Director of South Asia and Afghanistan Department and the UK’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2012, Karen started her second multilateral role, this time in Geneva, where she was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UK Mission to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and Other International Organisations until 2015. Between 2015 and 2016 Karen was the UK’s Ambassador to Afghanistan.