Testing for a coronavirus vaccine is set to start this week at the University of Oxford, according to Matt Hancock. The Health Secretary shared the good news at the Government’s daily briefing, also praising Imperial University as one of the “leading vaccine developments”. Although the global search for a vaccine has massively ramped up, many do not believe it will be widely available until 2021.
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Mr Hancock told the briefing: “In the long run, the best way to beat the coronavirus is through a vaccine.
“This is uncertain science, but I am certain we will throw everything we’ve got at developing a vaccine.
“The UK is at the forefront of a global effort. We’ve put more money than any other country into the global search for a vaccine.
“For all the efforts around the world, two leading vaccine developments are taking place here at home at Oxford and Imperial.”
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He continued: “Both of these promising projects are making rapid progress.
“I’ve told the scientists leading them that we’ll do anything in our power to support.
“First, I’m today making £22.5 million available to the Imperial project.
“That is to support their phase two clinical trials are going to assess a sample of several thousand and for them to begin the work on subsequently a very large phase three trial.”
He continued: “Both of these promising projects are making rapid progress.”
The Health Secretary added: “Second, I’m today making available £20 million to the Oxford team to fund their clinical trials.
“The team have accelerated that trials process, working with the regulator, the MHRA, who have been absolutely brilliant.
“As a result, I can announce that the vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled on people from this Thursday.”
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Mr Hancock also said: “In normal times, reaching this stage would take years.
“I’m very proud of the work taken so far.
“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 humanly possible.
“Nothing about this process certain.
“Vaccine development is a process of trial and error and trial again. That’s the nature of how vaccines are developed.”