Human and animal trials for a British vaccine against the coronavirus are set to begin next week at the Government’s secret science base Porton Down.
Scientists will test the drug, made at Oxford University, on animals at the Wiltshire base before trialling on humans next month.
The Times reports that the Phase II trials will begin before the results of the animal trials are known, as the Crisis lurches into its next, dramatic phase.
However, experts have cautioned that a vaccine for Covid-19 – the illness caused by the novel Wuhan coronavirus – is not imminent.
Prof Robin Shattock, from Imperial College London, said that vaccines would not be made widely available until next year ‘at the earliest’, telling the BBC’s World at One yesterday: ‘The first part of testing is to check that it’s safe in humans in small numbers, and again induces the right sort of immune response.
‘That will take, even if we do things quickly, two to three months.
Scientists will test a vaccine for the coronavirus, made at Oxford University, on animals at the Government’s Porton Down base before trialling on humans next month
The Phase II trials will begin before the results of the animal trials are known, as the Crisis lurches into its next, dramatic phase (pictured, biologist at Russian lab-surveillance centre)
He continued: ‘The next stage would be to ramp it up and start looking at whether the vaccine actually can prevent infection in the community.
‘You need to produce the data to show a vaccine works and how well it works before you can get a licence to sell that as a product.’
Normally, larger Phase III trials are needed before a drug is clinically approved. In emergencies, however, such trial vaccines are released early for key workers.
Oxford scientists hope the vaccine – which contains a section of genetic code from the coronavirus – will train the body to attack the virus.
Adrian Hill, director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, said: “This is not a normal situation.’
He told The Guardian: ‘The more vaccine we can provide sooner, the better.”
The Oxford drug is one of multiple such proto-vaccines in development worldwide, as the number of positive tests worldwide exceeded 200,000.
Human test subjects received a dose of a US vaccine developed by Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, MailOnline reported.
Other drugs that are being tested as potential antidotes to Covid-19 include anti-malaria medicine, and treatment for ebola.
- Remdesivir – developed to combat ebola. It is being tested on Covid-19 in at least five clinical trials. Experiments suggest it works against SARS and MERS;
- Kaletra – normally used to treat HIV. However, a study involving 200 seriously-ill Covid-19 patients from China found no benefit;
- Chloroquine – used to combat malaria. Experiments involving 36 French Covid-19 patients showed that 70 percent given it recovered within six days;
- Favipiravir – a Japanese flue treatment which helped 340 Chinese patients recover in four days, compared with 11 days in those who did not.
Britons are bracing for an unprecedented national lockdown as Covid-19 has claimed 177 lives in total and infected nearly 4,000 people.
Government advisers believe the number of cases could be as many as 10,000.
Boris Johnson has instructed millions across the country, particularly in London, to follow Social Distancing Orders and work from home if possible.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, gyms, and leisure centres were yesterday told to close up early for a preliminary fortnight.
A sombre-looking PM told a No 10 press briefing last night: ‘We’re taking away the ancient, inalienable right of free-born people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub, and I can understand how people feel about that.’
The Oxford drug is one of multiple such proto-vaccines in development worldwide, as the number of positive tests worldwide exceeded 200,000
Drinkers enjoy a last night at the pub (and abandon social distancing) before UK-WIDE shutdown after Boris Johnson tells cafes, bars, restaurants, gyms and leisure centres to close and pleads with people to stay at home as coronavirus claims 177
Drinkers across the country enjoyed a final pint and panic-bought alcohol from supermarkets last night after Boris Johnson ordered that all pubs in the UK will close today in a dramatic lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister told his daily press conference that social premises that also include theatres, cinemas, gyms and sports centres must close ‘as soon as they reasonably can and not to reopen tomorrow’.
Revellers ignored the government’s advice on social distancing as they danced the night away despite the coronavirus death toll rising by 40 on Friday to 177, with almost 4,000 infected, although the real figure is believed to be greater than 10,000.
A sombre-looking PM said that measures outlined on Monday for people to voluntarily self-isolate now had to go further as he ordered premises to close their doors for an initial 14 days, after which it will be reviewed.
‘We’re taking away the ancient, inalienable right of free-born people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub, and I can understand how people feel about that,’ he said.
Customers in the Red Lion pub in Westminster in London watch the television as Boris Johnson orders pubs and restaurants across the country to close
People in a Newcastle bar as the Governments imposes an unprecedented UK-wide lockdown
The Prime Minister’s words were beamed out to revellers throughout Britain who had headed to the pub after a week at work.
Others rushed to the supermarket to stock up on booze.
Meanwhile, people toasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak after he announced that the government will cover 80 percent of salaries up to £2,500 each month, with workers staying on the books, and there will be no limit on the total cost. The scheme will be up and running by April 1 and be backdated to the start of the chaos.
Experts forecast that Mr Sunak’s intervention could save 800,000 jobs in Britain’s workforce for when the country eventually emerges through the health emergency.
London is ahead of the curve on coronavirus infections, according to scientists, but social media has been awash with pictures showing bars bursting at the seams with people seemingly indifferent to the risk in the capital.
Experts warned that Mr Johnson’s coronavirus plan could fail and leave the NHS on the brink unless half the public obey self-isolation and ‘social distancing’ rules.
A swathe of newly-released evidence presented to ministers suggests that the fate of the PM’s plan rests on convincing enough people to fall into line.
As the UK death toll rose by 33 to 177 and total cases hit 3,983:
- The Government said Social Distancing Orders might last for most of the year;
- The export of paracetamol and other crucial medicines was banned;
- A critical incident was declared at Northwick Park hospital in London as it warned it could no longer treat virus victims. It was later lifted;
- Panic-buying continued at supermarkets, with many forced to introduce measures to ensure emergency workers could still get food;
- Children were told to avoid team sport and ride bikes two yards apart;
- GCSE and A-level grades will be based on teacher assessments;
- Rail services will be reduced and the Tube limited to essential workers;
- A man on the Isle of Man became the first to be arrested for not self-isolating.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says human rights should be ‘infringed’ as he slams people for still going to bars and using public transport
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, ahead of a Government Covid-19 briefing on March 16
The Mayor of London hit out at people who were going to pubs and using public transport, warning he would ‘infringe’ their human rights if necessary.
Sadiq Khan said ‘liberties and human rights need to be changed, curtailed, infringed’ in order to protect people and prevent further coronavirus deaths.
His shock warning came as City Hall and Transport for London were branded a ‘bunch of useless idiots’ as they reduced public transport services while many people continued to commute into work – leading to overcrowding.
Mr Khan thundered: ‘Our liberties and human rights need to be changed, curtailed, infringed – use whatever word you want.
‘I am concerned about people not following the advice.
‘There are still too many people being witnessed on our streets, in our bars, in our cafés, using the Tube, using our buses.’
The Mayor said he would be working from home, ‘wherever possible’, to ‘set the best possible example’ as he told Londoners to do the same.