New vaccine development centre to strength UK’s capabilities

The UK’s new vaccine development and evaluation centre will target pathogens for which a vaccine does not exist or could be improved, supporting pandemic preparedness.

New vaccine development centre to strength UK's capabilities

Credit: penofoto /

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has revealed its Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC) situated at the UKHSA’s in Porton Down site in the UK.

This centre is a key part of UKHSA’s three-year strategy, which was launched on 25 July 2023 to prepare for and respond to health threats.

The new Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC)

With more than 2,800m2 of laboratory space, over 200 leading scientists are working on around 100 projects at the centre. Primarily, new vaccines will be tested and evaluated for pandemic-causing potential.

Representing a “hugely exciting step-change… [VDEC delivers] multiple critical early pre and post clinical research and evaluation studies in a single research facility,” according to Professor Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UKHSA.

As well as testing emerging vaccines against new variants for example, for COVID-19, the centre also specialises in high consequence infectious diseases.

MHRA authorises new COVID-19 vaccine

UKHSA’s VDEC will target pathogens for which a vaccine does not exist or is not regulated in the UK, or could be improved, such as avian influenza or mpox (monkeypox).

Currently, teams at VDEC are running Phase I clinical trials which could lead to the world’s first vaccine against Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, a virus that is fatal in about 30 percent of cases.

100 Days Mission

The new facility has a vital role in the UK’s contribution to the global 100 Days Mission, according to UKHSA. This project was launched in 2021 with the aim of implementing an effective vaccine within 100 days of identifying a new pandemic threat.

A report recently published by the UKHSA has revealed that the UK is making important progress in key areas, including vaccines research, development and manufacturing.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, highlighted that for the UK, the VDEC cements the country’s global position spearheading pandemic preparedness as well as vaccine development.