As rumours spread that the UK will soon go into full blown lockdown, Brits have been wondering is there a coronavirus vaccine?
Researchers are rushing to develop a UK vaccine for the flu-like COVID-19 as soon as possible, with a team based at Oxford University set to conduct a safety trial on humans next month.
Is there a coronavirus vaccine?
A coronavirus vaccine is on the way.
Prof. Adrian Hill, director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, told the Guardian that if the trials go smoothly, researchers will begin a larger trial to see how effective it is at protecting people from coronavirus.
He explained: “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 more vaccine we can provide sooner, the better.”
What did Boris Johnson say about a UK coronavirus vaccine?
Speaking during his daily briefing at Downing Street on Thursday (March 19), Prime Minister Boris Johnson told gathered reporters that a person was currently in a clinical trial.
In his speech, the PM said a British patient who has COVID-19 has entered a randomised trial for coronavirus for the first time and was being tested to see whether they have immunity.
This is not a normal situation.
He also said the government is negotiating a deal to buy “simple” antibody tests that he compared to pregnancy tests and said are able to tell whether or not somebody has already had coronavirus.
Boris explained: “It’s early days, but if it works as its proponents claim, then we will buy literally hundreds of thousands of these kits as soon as practicable.”
When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?
Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this month that a vaccine was an estimated 12 to 18 months away.
This expectation has been echoed by the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.
But while an exact time frame is not yet known, Prof. Adrian Hill of Oxford’s Jenner Institute said the team there – and others elsewhere working on a coronavirus vaccine – were “aiming for much earlier”.
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