Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, told The Times that she was “80 percent confident” the jab being developed by her team will work. Human trials are due to being in the next fortnight. It could be ready for use by September.
The Government has indicated it would be willing to fund the creation of doses if the results of the trials were promising.
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Officials believe that social distancing and remote working measures might have to remain in place for some time without a vaccine.
Professor Gilbert explained: “I think there’s a high chance that it will work based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine.
“It’s not just a hunch and as every week goes by we have more data to look at, I would go for 80 per cent, that’s my personal view.”
A Danish scientist conducting research on a potential vaccine, stock
A vaccine could end the lockdown and social distancing measures
Safety trials are due to begin soon with further trials around the world.
Professor Gilbert said lockdown made testing harder when the virus is not spreading.
But, if one of the countries where trials are taking place “turns out to have a high rate of virus transmission then we will get our efficacy results very quickly, so that is the strategy for reducing the time”.
She added the most optimistic time to get a working vaccine was September commenting: “Yes and we have to go for that.”
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A team at Oxford could have the vaccine ready by September
The professor warned: “Nobody can promise it’s going to work.”
Ministers have concluded that spending millions on a vaccine that looks viable is justified given the economic cost of the lockdown.
American philanthropist Bill Gates insisted he was prepared to “waste” billions manufacturing vaccines to prevent delays for any that will work.
According to John Hopkins University, the death toll worldwide of coronavirus is 100,000.
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This is more than twice the death figure from the London Blitz.
Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the IMF, has said 2020 will see the world face the gravest economic crisis since the 1930s.
She forecast 2021 would only see a partial recovery.
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Ms Georgieva explained: “Just three months ago, we expected positive per capita income growth in over 160 of our member countries in 2020.
“Today, that number has been turned on its head: we now project that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.”
There are 189 nations in the IMF.
Kristalina Georgieva warned the world economy will only partially recover in 2021
Five UN member states are not members of the body.
These are Andorra, Cuba, Liechtenstein, Monaco and North Korea.
According to the IMF website, the following members have received emergency assistance to deal with the outbreak: Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, Gabon, Madagascar, Rwanda and Togo.