First Doses Of UK Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Tested On Human Volunteers On Thursday
22 April 2020, 08:48
The first doses of an experimental vaccine against coronavirus will be tested on volunteers on Thursday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced during Tuesday’s daily briefing the first doses of a potential jab to fight coronavirus will begin being tested by human volunteers on Thursday 22 April.
The potential vaccine has been developed by Oxford University within a matter of months, a process which typically takes researchers years.
While hopeful for the first steps in developing the virus, the Health Secretary warned these tests can take some time in “trial and error.”
However, the government is inputting a boost of £20million to fund the clinical trial and £22.5million to Imperial College London for its vaccine research.
Speaking during the daily update, Mr Hancock said: “The vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled in people from this Thursday.”
He added: “At the same time we’ll invest in manufacturing capability so that if either of these vaccines safely works then we can make it available for the British people as soon as humanely possible.
“Nothing about this process is certain. Vaccine development is a process of trial and error and trial again.”
He also said he is willing to back the researchers “to the hilt and give them every resource they need” in order to develop their working vaccine.
"After all, the upside of being the first country in the world to develop a successful vaccine is so huge that I am throwing everything at it," Mr Hancock added.
Professor Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the Oxford research team, said last week a vaccine could be available by September.
The clinical teams at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group began developing the vaccine in January.
The news comes as the UK death toll from coronavirus surpassed 17,000 on Tuesday afternoon.
This is an increase of 828 from the day before.