Virology expert Dr Simon Clarke explained he is worried the coronavirus vaccine is being seen as a done deal despite being incredibly difficult to develop. He noted the US and China currently have a dozen trials on at the moment. It comes as the Government is “throwing everything” at developing a coronavirus vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said as he announced that human trials led by the University of Oxford.
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Speaking to talkRADIO, Dr Clarke said: “This first trial was due to happen around now anyway.
“I’m not entirely sure of the exact start date but I know someone who is registered to be on it and was due to be getting his first shot in the arm in early May.
“If it has been bought forward, it’s not by much.
“It’s worth remembering that there are 12 trials underway in America and China already on other vaccines.”
He added: “The more money is thrown at this thing, hopefully, some of it will stick.
“It’s hopeful that there will be a vaccine but I do worry as it’s presented as a done deal.
“It’s not like that at all. It’s much, much more difficult.”
Mr Hancock, who is under fire over his 100,000-per-day testing target and a lack of protective equipment for health and care staff, said it was clear that the “best way to defeat coronavirus is through a vaccine”.
Speaking at the daily press briefing, Mr Hancock praised the “rapid progress” being made into vaccines by scientists at Oxford and Imperial College London.
Oxford, where the team is being led by Professor Sarah Gilbert, has said it hopes to have at least a million doses of its vaccine ready in September, while Imperial hopes to start clinical trials in June.
Mr Hancock said the UK is at the “front of the global effort” to find a vaccine that is effective against coronavirus.
He said: “We have put more money than any other country into a 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.
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“Both of these promising projects are making rapid progress and I’ve told the scientists leading them we will do everything in our power to support.”
Mr Hancock pledged a further £22.5 million to Imperial, while Oxford will be granted £20 million to fund its clinical trials.
Mr Hancock said the process of finding a vaccine would involve “trial and error” but he has told UK scientists he would “back them to the hilt and give them every resource they need” to succeed.
He added: “After all, the upside of being the first country in the world to develop a successful vaccine is so huge that I am throwing everything at it.”
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