Trials for a coronavirus vaccine to start on people in Oxford on Thursday, says government
A potential coronavirus vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford will be trialled on people from Thursday, said the health secretary Matt Hancock. Hancock added that he was making £22m available to Imperial to support their ongoing phase two trials, and providing £20m to the Oxford team to accelerate their trials.
The plan is to test it on around 500 volunteers by mid-May and if that work proves successful, give it to thousands more volunteers.
“In normal times, reaching this stage would take years, and I’m very proud of the work taken so far,” Mr Hancock said.
“At the same time, we’ll invest in manufacturing capability, so if either of these vaccines safely works, then we can make it available for the British people as soon as humanly possible.”
Mr Hancock conceded it was “uncertain science” but said he was confident the UK would throw “everything we’ve got at developing a vaccine”.
Very likely lockdown until end of year as deaths top 18,000
Professor Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical advisor, warned the public social distancing measures would likely be in place until a vaccine is found. This on a day in which a further 763 people died in 24 hours