The UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has said there will be clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine on patients from Thursday.
The vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is being developed by scientists at the University of Oxford.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Hancock said the government was “throwing everything” at the vaccine drive.
He confirmed that a provision of £20million had been made for the Oxford team, to help fund the clinical trials.
An additional £22.5million will be made available for researchers at Imperial College, London.
He said the government will “back them to the hilt and give them every resource they need to get them the best possible chance of success as soon as possible”.
“In the long run the best way to defeat coronavirus is through a vaccine. This is a new disease, this is uncertain science, but I’m certain that we will throw everything we’ve got at developing a vaccine,” he said.
“The UK is at the forefront of the global effort. We’ve put more money than any other country into the 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, at Oxford and Imperial.
“Both of these promising projects are making rapid progress and I’ve told the scientists leading them that we’ll do everything we can to support them.
“And today making available 20 million pounds to the oxford team to fund their clinical trials. The team has accelerated its process working, with the regulator of the MHRA ((Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency), who have been absolutely brilliant.
“As a result, I can announce that the vaccine from the oxford project will be trialled in people from this Thursday.
“In normal time, reaching this stage takes years and I am very proud of the work taken so far.”