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Sunday 29th March 2020

Coronavirus: Scientists 'developing vaccine which could be available by summer'

Animal trials 'could begin next week' at PHE's laboratory

Scientists developing a coronavirus vaccine in the UK may have developed one by the summer, a tabloid report has claimed.

The Sun Online reported that Oxford University researchers are planning a human trial next month for what could be the first coronavirus vaccine for the UK.

The news outlet suggested animal trials could begin next week at Public Health England's laboratory in Wiltshire.

The report goes on to claim any resulting vaccine could be available by the summer.

'We are conscious that a vaccine is needed as soon as possible' (Credit: Pexels.com)

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However, previous advice has suggested Brits could be waiting much longer for a coronavirus vaccine.

But earlier this week, Sir Patrick Vallance - the government's Chief Scientific Adviser - noted a vaccine in the UK may go into the clinic for first testing in April.

Vaccines are the answer to this.

He reflected: "In terms of vaccines, and vaccines are the answer to this, it's remarkable the progress that has been made.

"It's only probably three or four years ago when the standard answer would be it takes 20 years to make a vaccine, it is now the case that there's a vaccine in the UK that may go into the clinic for first testing in April.

'It is now the case that there’s a vaccine in the UK that may go into the clinic for first testing in April' (Credit: Pexels.com)

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"I still believe we will be lucky to get a vaccine for mass use in a year from the start of this, that would be extraordinary, but there is progress."

According to The Sun Online, the Oxford vaccine is one of five vaccines in development around the globe.

Professor Adrian Hill is quoted as saying: "The more vaccine we can provide sooner, the better."

He previously told The Guardian: "We are conscious that a vaccine is needed as soon as possible and certainly by June-July, when we expect a big peak in mortality.

"This is not a normal situation. We will follow all standard trial safety requirements, but as soon as we have a vaccine that's working, we anticipate there will be an accelerated pathway to get it deployed to save lives."

The Sun Online also reports biotech firm Synairgen will trial an experimental drug on COVID-19 patients from the beginning of next week.

The treatment is said to have been developed for those suffering from lung disease COPD, as it is meant to boost a patient's immune system, and it could also be widely available by the end of the 2020.

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