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Government buys £16million vaccine-making plant

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government buys 16million vaccine making plant

The Government has bought a £16 million vaccine manufacturing facility as part of moves to ensure any successful anti-Covid-19 drug can be produced at scale in the UK.    

Ministers today announced an additional £100 million will be invested in the new state-of-the-art centre to scale up Covid-19 vaccine and gene therapy manufacturing.

The investment will upgrade an existing facility to create a fully-licensed Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Braintree, Essex, which is due to open in December 2021.

The Government said the centre, bought for £16 million from Benchmark Holdings, will have the capacity to produce millions of doses a month, ensuring the UK has the capabilities to manufacture vaccines and advanced medicines far into the future.

The Government has bought a £16 million vaccine manufacturing facility as part of moves to ensure any successful anti-Covid-19 drug can be produced at scale in the UK (stock image)

The Government has bought a £16 million vaccine manufacturing facility as part of moves to ensure any successful anti-Covid-19 drug can be produced at scale in the UK (stock image)

The Government has bought a £16 million vaccine manufacturing facility as part of moves to ensure any successful anti-Covid-19 drug can be produced at scale in the UK (stock image)

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: ‘We are taking all necessary steps to ensure we can vaccinate the public as soon as a successful Covid-19 vaccine becomes available.

‘This new Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre, alongside crucial investment in skills, will support our efforts to rapidly produce millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine while ensuring the UK can respond quickly to potential future pandemics.’

Peter George, chairman of Benchmark Holdings, said: ‘We were in the process of evaluating this sector when Covid-19 broke, and I am delighted that we have a long-term solution for the workforce, which has always been our desired outcome.’

Kate Bingham, who chairs the Vaccines Taskforce added: ‘Today’s announcement is another important milestone for us. The work of the Vaccines Taskforce is focused on protecting the UK against Covid-19 through vaccination as quickly as possible.

‘In order to vaccinate our high-risk populations at the earliest opportunity, the Government has agreed to proactively manufacture vaccines now, so we have millions of doses of vaccine ready if they are shown to be safe and effective.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: 'We are taking all necessary steps to ensure we can vaccinate the public as soon as a successful Covid-19 vaccine becomes available'

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: 'We are taking all necessary steps to ensure we can vaccinate the public as soon as a successful Covid-19 vaccine becomes available'

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: ‘We are taking all necessary steps to ensure we can vaccinate the public as soon as a successful Covid-19 vaccine becomes available’

‘The acquisition of this state-of-the-art manufacturing centre will not only help us with this, but also ensures we are well-placed as a country to be able to cope with any pandemics or health crises in the future.’

The Government added that employment in the cell and gene therapy sector is predicted to reach over 6,000 jobs by 2024, with over 3,000 in manufacturing and bioprocessing.

The facility in Braintree will open alongside the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), which is currently under construction in Oxfordshire after another £93 million investment from the Government.

Downing Street has also pledged an additional £38 million to establish a rapid deployment facility, opening later this summer, which will support efforts to ensure a successful vaccine is widely available to the public as soon as possible. 

Matthew Durdy, CEO, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult said: ‘This commitment from the Government through the Vaccines Taskforce will enable continued growth and productivity in the cell and gene therapy sector, as well as providing vital resource for vaccine manufacturing and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

‘We are delighted to be able to deploy the specialist capabilities of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in such an important initiative. 

‘Accelerating the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, increasing skills and employment, and facilitating growth of the advanced medicines industry will make a valuable contribution to the recovery of the economy.’

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Senior SAGE advisor hits back at Dido Harding after she blamed group for not predicting second wave

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senior sage advisor hits back at dido harding after she blamed group for not predicting second wave

A senior member of SAGE has hit back at Dido Harding, saying the body gave ‘clear advice,’ to the Government, after she blamed the group for not predicting a second wave. 

Baroness Harding faced a grilling from MPs on Thursday, telling them nobody was ‘expecting’ to see the ‘really sizeable increase in demand,’ for testing, that has caused chaos at test centres across the country in recent weeks.

The Government’s testing tsar said the current daily capacity of 240,000 had been put in place ‘based on SAGE modelling for what we should be preparing for for the autumn’.  

SAGE member Sir Jeremy Farrar hit back at claims that SAGE was to blame for recent chaos at testing centres

SAGE member Sir Jeremy Farrar hit back at claims that SAGE was to blame for recent chaos at testing centres

SAGE member Sir Jeremy Farrar hit back at claims that SAGE was to blame for recent chaos at testing centres

Sir Jeremy Farrar, who sits on the SAGE panel, has hit back following Thursday’s comments. 

Responding to a MailOnline article, he tweeted: ‘Interesting to be blaming SAGE. Has been clear, and in the advice, that the UK faced an inevitable increase in community transmission and cases after the summer and needed a fully functional & trusted test, trace, isolate in place.’

The director of the Wellcome Trust pointed out that he had previously warned that a growing testing crisis was looming.   

Baroness Dido Harding has come under fire from scientists after she told MPs the current daily capacity of 240,000 had been put in place 'based on SAGE modelling'

Baroness Dido Harding has come under fire from scientists after she told MPs the current daily capacity of 240,000 had been put in place 'based on SAGE modelling'

Baroness Dido Harding has come under fire from scientists after she told MPs the current daily capacity of 240,000 had been put in place ‘based on SAGE modelling’

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 today, Professor Neil Ferguson said a surge in testing demand was ‘completely unanticipated,’ defended the advisory panel.

He said: ‘SAGE was never responsible for predicting the demand for testing, what we’ve been involved in predicting is the likely infection levels in the population. Then the test and trace system has tended to plan for the demand.

‘What happened when the schools reopened was not necessarily a surge in Covid infections, but parents and teachers getting concerned about students coughing and spluttering, most of which was not Covid.

‘So we saw a huge surge in testing of children, most of whom, 97% of whom, tested negative. That surge in demand was not anticipated.’

According to the National Association of Headteachers, pupils at 87 per cent of schools are staying at home while they wait for test results to come back.

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General Secretary Paul Whiteman told The Telegraph the system was ‘in chaos,’ adding: ‘It is in no way unpredictable or surprising that the demand for Covid-19 tests would spike when schools reopened more widely this term, and yet the system is in chaos.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘The latest official statistics show that 99.9 per cent of schools are open, with the vast majority of pupils attending. Where staff or children have symptoms of Covid-19, testing capacity is the highest it has ever been, and we are working to provide further priority access for teachers.’ 

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Sacked chief-executive, 60, posts a video of himself doing press-ups to show

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sacked chief executive 60 posts a video of himself doing press ups to show

A 60-year-old former chief-executive has been overwhelmed with job offers after he  posted a video of himself doing press-ups to prove he is not past it.

Paul Marks believes he had missed out on more than fifty jobs before the video of him doing six press-ups in his suit made him a viral success.

The former Toys R Us worker from Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire had more than 40 years of experience before being furloughed during the coronavirus lockdown in April.

His CV included roles such as chief operating officer, managing partner and operations director, working in India, Dubai and Spain, but he said he was unable to find a job in the UK due to his age.

Now more than 100 employers have got in touch with him about a job after the video reached more than 700,000 views on LinkedIn.

Paul Marks, 60, believes he had missed out on more than fifty jobs due to his age so decided to post a video of himself doing press-ups to attract employer's attention

Paul Marks, 60, believes he had missed out on more than fifty jobs due to his age so decided to post a video of himself doing press-ups to attract employer's attention

Paul Marks, 60, believes he had missed out on more than fifty jobs due to his age so decided to post a video of himself doing press-ups to attract employer’s attention

Paul performs six press-ups in his suit before getting up and addressing the camera. He says more than 100 employers have got in touch with him about a job after the video reached more than 700,000 views on LinkedIn

Paul performs six press-ups in his suit before getting up and addressing the camera. He says more than 100 employers have got in touch with him about a job after the video reached more than 700,000 views on LinkedIn

Paul performs six press-ups in his suit before getting up and addressing the camera. He says more than 100 employers have got in touch with him about a job after the video reached more than 700,000 views on LinkedIn

In the video, Paul performs six press-ups in his suit before getting up and addressing the camera.

He says he runs he does 40 or 50 press-ups a day and runs 30km after introducing himself.

Paul Marks’s CV 

Chief Operating Manager, Kreol Group 

March 2020 (furloughed in April), Dubai

General Manager – Retail Business Development, Al Jaidah Brothers

July 2011, Dubai 

General Manager – Retail Development, Currimjee Jeewanjee

January 2009, Dubai 

Retail & Hospitality Business Development Manager

August 2008, Dubai 

Founder and Managing Partner, Retail Management Solutions 

April 2005, Dubai

Regional Controller, Alpha Airport Group

2000

Operational Director Middle East, Toys R Us

1985 

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Paul says: ‘Oh by the way, those 40 press-ups and 30km stuff, it’s not my way of showing how fit I may or may not be.

‘It’s my way of saying not all 60-year-olds are grey-haired gardeners or sit around drinking tea or watching sport all day. Not that I’m averse to either.’

Paul says he is returning to the UK after living and working abroad and is finding it impossible to speak to recruiters face-to-face.

He adds: ‘The fact is that the complexity and, to a degree, the necessity of in the way in which online recruitment works these days means that its difficult for people like me to get past what feels a little bit like selection by algorithm.

‘I need to meet people. So this is my call to action. My way of introducing myself to recruiters who might be put off by my age.’

He encouragers employers to think about the value his years of experience could provide a company and asks them to connect with him on LinkedIn or ‘better still’ phone him.

The video was inspired by Paul’s challenging himself to be able to complete 60 press-ups and run 6km by his 60th birthday yesterday.

Paul, who was born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, said: ‘I thought, “what if I combine the press-ups with a call to action”.

‘I didn’t think I should do it in my gym gear because it doesn’t look very professional, so I thought maybe I’d wear my suit, take my jacket off, then that would be underneath.

‘But my wife said “who do you think you are, superman?”, so then I wondered if I could do the press-ups in my suit. It was a bit tight after I put on some covid weight, but I managed it.

‘Because I’d been doing the press-ups as part of the challenge, I was confident about physically doing them but I was nervous because I thought people might think I was a bit of a twit.

Paul says he runs he does 40 or 50 press-ups a day and runs 30km. The video was inspired by Paul's challenging himself to be able to complete 60 press-ups and run 6km by his 60th birthday yesterday

Paul says he runs he does 40 or 50 press-ups a day and runs 30km. The video was inspired by Paul's challenging himself to be able to complete 60 press-ups and run 6km by his 60th birthday yesterday

Paul says he runs he does 40 or 50 press-ups a day and runs 30km. The video was inspired by Paul’s challenging himself to be able to complete 60 press-ups and run 6km by his 60th birthday yesterday

‘The message was “I’m not an old wrinkly” and “I’m not dead yet”, because when it comes to recruiting you might as well be dead.’

Paul and his wife lost their jobs in April and they caught the first post-lockdown plane home from Dubai in July.

He lives with a friend while wife Sara Marks, 47, lives with her parents in Bagby, North Yorkshire, before they can move back into their home in Darlington.

The father of two said he is not ‘one of these Dubai success stories’ and has ‘nothing but his house’, so he is looking for a job at any rung of the retail management ladder.

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First picture of murder victim, 23, whose body was found on fire on south London street 

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first picture of murder victim 23 whose body was found on fire on south london street

The first picture of a murder victim whose body was found on fire on a south London street has been released by police.

Loeike Guei, 23, lived on Thornton Heath but was found on fire at 6.12am on Thursday, September 17 at Commonside East in Mitcham. 

Officers attended and the body of a man was found. His family are aware and are being supported by specially trained officers.

The death is being treated as suspicious. A post-mortem examination began yesterday and gave preliminary cause of death as a head injury.

At this time, no arrests have been made.

Loeike Guei (pictured), 23, lived on Thornton Heath but was found on fire at 6.12am on Thursday, September 17 at Commonside East in Mitcham

Loeike Guei (pictured), 23, lived on Thornton Heath but was found on fire at 6.12am on Thursday, September 17 at Commonside East in Mitcham

Loeike Guei (pictured), 23, lived on Thornton Heath but was found on fire at 6.12am on Thursday, September 17 at Commonside East in Mitcham

A crime scene remains in place and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.

The Met’s Specialist Crime Command is investigating, led by Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Jolley.

He said: ‘Loeike’s family have been intensely shocked by the loss of their loved one and are at the very beginning of coming to terms with their grief.

‘Foremost in our thoughts are their welfare – they are being supported by specially trained officers and we ask that their privacy is respected at this terribly sad time.

‘We are in the initial stages of our investigation and are keeping an open mind with regards any motive.’

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The death is being treated as suspicious. A post-mortem examination began yesterday and gave preliminary cause of death as a head injury. Pictured, Commonside East where the body was found

The force has been making ‘good progress’ with ‘a number of leads’ but want anyone else who saw anything to come forward.  

‘What I need now is for anyone who has not spoken to us yet but have seen any suspicious activity or vehicles in the vicinity to make contact with us immediately,’ he added.

‘You may have information that may seem insignificant but could prove crucial to our investigation. 

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33304722 8750349 image a 31 1600511288646

Police officers from Metropolitan Police at the scene on Thursday after the body of Mr Guei was found 'alight'

Police officers from Metropolitan Police at the scene on Thursday after the body of Mr Guei was found 'alight'

Police officers from Metropolitan Police at the scene on Thursday after the body of Mr Guei was found ‘alight’

‘What matters most is that you make the call. Loeike’s family are traumatised and we need the support of the public in bringing them justice.’

Tania Marszalek, 39, who lives on the road where the body was found, told the Sun: ‘My dogs woke me up at around 6am.

‘I was annoyed they had woken me up before my alarm and I checked outside to see what was going on – I saw a police officer tying a red tape cordon to the wing mirror of my car.

‘I immediately wanted to know what was going on and I asked the officers who didn’t tell me much at all.

‘There are people on the street who are saying a guy was found at the end of the road on fire after being mutilated, he was still alive when he was found.’

If you knew Mr Guei email emer.scully@mailonline.co.uk. 

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