Europe

UK vaccine expert says life will start returning to normal by spring

A medicine expert has claimed Brits can look forward to a return to normal life ‘by spring’ after a major vaccine breakthrough.

In comments that will come as a massive relief amid the coronavirus crisis, Sir John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and a member of the Government’s vaccine taskforce, said that other vaccines were now likely to become available in the near future.

‘I am really delighted with this result – it shows that you can make a vaccine against this little critter. 90% is an amazing level of efficacy,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.’

Asked if people could look forward to a return to normal life by the spring, Sir John, who advises the government replied: ‘Yes, yes, yes. I am probably the first guy to say that but I will say that with some confidence.’

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It comes after trials showed a vaccine candidate to be ‘90% effective’ – with 10 million doses set to become available for the UK by the end of the year.

Sir John said the success of the latest coronavirus vaccine trials by Pfizer and BioNTech could pave the way for the rollout of a least one vaccine in the UK early in the new year.

He added: ‘It rolls the pitch for other vaccines because I can’t see any reason now why we shouldn’t have a handful of good vaccines.’

But Sir John warned that organising the distribution of the vaccine would be ‘challenging’.

He explained: ‘They will obviously start in the US – that’s probably appropriate. BioNTech is a German company so there will be, I am sure, doses made available for Europe.

‘The UK has done a pre-approval agreement to purchase up 30 million doses of this vaccine, so we are very well prepared to get access to this vaccine when it becomes available.

‘The manufacturing challenges are not small, so people need be ready to wait a bit to get it.’

This is a breaking story – more to follow.

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