Coronavirus updates: Covid-19 vaccine unlikely to be available this year despite UK trials starting



A coronavirus vaccine is unlikely to be available before the year is out despite tens of millions of pounds being poured into UK trials that start imminently.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed £41 million of additional investment this week for vaccine research taking place at Oxford University and Imperial College London, with Oxford given the green light to start human trials on Thursday.

But Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, poured cold water on hopes that an impending vaccine could be the way out of the UK Covid-19 lockdown.

He told reporters at the daily Downing Street press briefing that some social distancing measures would need to stay in place until there was a vaccine or drug which reduced the severity of Covid-19.

“Until we have those, and the probability of having those any time in the next calendar year are incredibly small and I think we should be realistic about that, we’re going to have to rely on other social measures, which of course are very socially disruptive as everyone is finding at the moment,” he said.

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