Boosted by the vaccine

Think tank: Reform

Author(s): James Sweetland

December 16, 2022

This report from UK think tank Reform looks at lessons from COVID-19 for the future of the life sciences.

This report from UK think tank Reform examines the factors that drove the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine and the lessons that should be drawn from this to ensure the UK’s life sciences offer remains globally competitive. The delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine represented an unprecedented collective effort from academics, industry, regulators and the NHS. By taking an approach defined by five key factors – close collaboration, significant funding, flexible regulation, a strong research base and significant public participation – the UK defied the predictions of the Chief Medical Officer (among others) and produced an effective vaccine less than one year after our first recorded COVID case. But while the UK’s life sciences sector was truly world-leading during the pandemic, its position in an increasingly competitive global marketplace is under threat. This paper presents five major policy ideas that the Government should immediately deliver on – from embedding regulatory flexibility and data sharing, to pursuing a step-change in the UK’s supply of growth capital – in order to supercharge the life sciences.