The UK will begin human trials of a coronavirus vaccine that is being developed at the University of Oxford the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday.
The trial will officially begin on Thursday and Mr Hancock said that the government will throw everything they’ve got at developing a vaccine.
It comes as the UK remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus, with Hancock stating a vaccine will be the best way for restrictions to completely end in the long term.
“In the long run, the best way to defeat coronavirus is through a vaccine,”
“The UK is at the front of the global effort. We have put more money than any other country into a global search for a vaccine and, for all the efforts around the world, two of the leading vaccine developments are taking place here at home.”
Hancock said the government would give 20 million pounds to support the research.
“In normal times, reaching this stage would take years,” he said. Another 20.5 million pounds will go to a separate project at London’s Imperial College.
Mr Hancock also addressed the issue of personal protective equipment, stating that the government was working flat out to source more for those on the virus frontline. He said that the government had engaged with 159 British manufacturers who have offered to make such kit, while he said there had been thousands of offers which are being assessed.Adding that 8,331 companies had come forward with offers of PPE.
“I am very grateful to all of those who have come forward and we are now actively engaged with hundreds of these companies,” he said.
Meanwhile, another 828 people have died in UK hospitals taking the death toll to 17,337, the Department of Health (DoH) confirmed on Tuesday.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, said the number of new cases being diagnosed in the UK remained high but said it was not clear whether there was an enormous downturn at this point. “The numbers are varying day to day but they remain high and we remain in a situation of danger that we must take very seriously indeed.”