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Dominic Raab admits coronavirus vaccine is 'unlikely to come this year' despite human trials starting this week

Dominic Raab admits coronavirus vaccine is 'unlikely to come this year' despite human trials starting this week
  • Foreign Secretary previously said vaccine was unlikely until later this year 
  • But today he said that 2020 is unlikely to see the creation of a Covid-19 vaccine 
  • Oxford scientists have developed antibody test kits that work in just 20 minutes
  • Human trials for vaccine began on Thursday at the University of Oxford
Dominic Raab says that a coronavirus vaccine is 'unlikely to come this year' as human trials start this week.
The Foreign Secretary told Sophy Ridge on Sky this morning that a vaccine probably won't be available in 2020, despite previously saying it was 'unlikely to come into play' until later this year.
It comes as Oxford scientists developed accurate antibody kits that work in 20 minutes, announcing they could be producing one million of the tests a week by June.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (pictured on Sophy Ridge today) previously said that a vaccine was unlikely to come into play until later this year, but has now said it's unlikely to be created in 2020 at all
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (pictured on Sophy Ridge today) previously said that a vaccine was unlikely to come into play until later this year, but has now said it's unlikely to be created in 2020 at all
The grim 20,000 milestone - which also saw the number of people testing positive for coronavirus rise by 4,913 to 148,377 - came as the coronavirus lockdown continued into its fifth weekend and the Government faced calls for greater transparency over the scientific advice given to ministers on the outbreak
The grim 20,000 milestone - which also saw the number of people testing positive for coronavirus rise by 4,913 to 148,377 - came as the coronavirus lockdown continued into its fifth weekend and the Government faced calls for greater transparency over the scientific advice given to ministers on the outbreak
But Mr Raab said despite the progress in testing, a vaccine could continue to elude countries fighting the pandemic. 
He said: 'The antibody test is important because it can tell whether you had the virus, there is also the swab test which says if you currently have the virus.
We are looking at all of these measures to manage and try and bring an end to the coronavirus.
'We are also looking at the possibility of a vaccine, that's not likely to come to fruition this year, which could be very important if we get multiple waves of coronavirus globally down the track.'
The first human trials for a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK began on Thursday at the University of Oxford. Pictured: Protein scientist Simon Varzandeh at work in Oxford as part of the team tackling coronavirus
Oxford scientists have also developed accurate antibody kits that work in 20 minutes, announcing they could be producing one million of the tests a week by June. Pictured: Scientists wear full protective equipment as they work at a testing facility in Oxford
Oxford scientists have also developed accurate antibody kits that work in 20 minutes, announcing they could be producing one million of the tests a week by June. Pictured: Scientists wear full protective equipment as they work at a testing facility in Oxford
The former deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Gina Radford, says a Covid-19 vaccine might not be ready until later next year.
Professor Radford said people needed to be 'realistic' about the prospect of a vaccine as researchers are having to 'start from scratch' to create one. 
It comes as the first human trials for a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK began on Thursday at the University of Oxford.
In other developments: 
  • Ministers were planning to put all travellers from abroad, including returning UK citizens, in quarantine for a fortnight;
  • Tory 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady warned Mr Johnson that prolonging the lockdown 'for longer than necessary would have its own toll of mass unemployment, business failure and catastrophic deterioration of the public finances'
  • Tory donor and City grandee Michael Spencer called for the Government to provide a blueprint for easing the measures, with a friend saying 'it should not continue a day longer than necessary';
  • Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that 'we are not out of the woods yet' and urged the public to continue to follow social distancing rules – while vowing to tackle 'the most sophisticated' criminals who are seeking to 'exploit and capitalise' on the pandemic;  
  • There was renewed controversy over the low number of patients being treated in Nightingale Hospitals;
  • The global death toll exceeded 200,000. 
Prof Radford, who held her government role between 2015 and 2019, was asked on Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday show about the prospect of a vaccine.
She said: 'We haven't got a hugely good track record with vaccines for this particular virus, coronavirus, the family of viruses.
'But having said that, everything is being thrown at it. There are researchers all over the world trying to identify a vaccine.
'We have never seen anything like the effort that is being made to discover this vaccine.'
Human trials on a potential vaccine saw the first two volunteers in the UK injected by researchers at the University of Oxford on Thursday. Pictured: Scientists in Oxford working on research into COVID-19
Human trials on a potential vaccine saw the first two volunteers in the UK injected by researchers at the University of Oxford on Thursday. Pictured: Scientists in Oxford working on research into COVID-19 
Prof Radford said there is a 'huge process' of testing that needs to be undertaken to determine if potential vaccines are safe and effective.
'There is no point creating a vaccine that will then cause more harm than it is trying to prevent,' she added.
'I think those who are very used to the process of developing vaccines are saying they are not anticipating it being available until well into next year.'
Prof Radford said that while the vaccine could be created sooner as the Government is 'fast-tracking' its development, it would still have to be manufactured in a large capacity.
The former deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Gina Radford, says a Covid-19 vaccine might not be ready until later next year. Pictured: Professor Radford was speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday
The former deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Gina Radford, says a Covid-19 vaccine might not be ready until later next year. Pictured: Professor Radford was speaking on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday
Meanwhile, Mr Raab told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the Government was 'pursuing' vaccines and testing 'at pace'.
He said: 'But the vaccine wouldn't realistically come into play until the end of the year - the testing, tracking and tracing I think has a better medium-term prognosis.'
Human trials on a potential vaccine saw the first two volunteers in the UK injected by researchers at the University of Oxford on Thursday.
Both participants - a scientist and a cancer researcher - said they wanted to help in what could be a groundbreaking development in the fight against the disease.
The Oxford Vaccine Group was hoping to repeat the process with six more volunteers on Saturday, moving to larger numbers on Monday.
Up to 1,102 participants will be recruited across multiple study sites in Oxford, Southampton, London and Bristol.

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