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Is there a vaccine for coronavirus and when will it be available? – The Sun

A VACCINE against the deadly coronavirus could be available as soon as June as the new Government task force and several drug companies are trying to find a way to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Scientists all over the world are working to prevent further deaths and kill off Covid-19, with tests on animals and human trials already underway.

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But so far, a cure to coronavirus is no closer.

Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?

The short answer is no – there's no preventative vaccine for Covid-19 at the moment.

But scientists across the globe are racing to find a jab to stop the spread and treat the sick.

Yesterday Britain's Business Secretary Sharma said that the government has set up a vaccine task force to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine – one that is hoped to be made available as soon as possible.

The task force will be facilitating trials, working in the UK and internationally.

He confirmed that the government has green-lighted 21 research projects – with £14m going towards them.

He said that we cannot put a date on when we will make a vaccine, but hopes that through the best of British scientific endeavour, it will be available soon.

The first human volunteers were injected with an experimental jab in Seattle in mid March.

Prof Robin Shattock, head of mucosal infection and immunity at Imperial College London, said further human trials could begin in coming months with testing on mice currently looking promising.

He told Independent: "Currently we have a prototype vaccine in animal models where the early results are encouraging.

"We are hoping to progress to clinical testing by the summer depending on obtaining sufficient funds for the next stage."

Another potential vaccine is being developed by cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco (BAT).

The Benson and Hedges maker said on April 1 it could produce between 1 to 3 million doses per week by June if testing goes well but it will need support from government agencies.

The London-listed company says it will begin clinical trials on humans soon and is currently running pre-clinical tests.

The treatment is being developed by the company's bio-health division, Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP).

KBP previously come up with a drug to combat Ebola.

It claims to have found an antibody that appears to fight COVID-19, using genetically modified tobacco plants, but needs US drug authorities to fast-track permissions.

US drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc is testing an experimental Ebola antiviral therapy, remdesivir, on patients with coronavirus in China and Japan – with positive signs so far.

In Wuhan where the virus outbreak began, China's Changjiang Daily reported that researchers at Zhejiang University have found that drugs Abidol and Darunavir can inhibit the virus in vitro cell experiments.

And scientists in Australia have developed a lab-grown version of the virus, a major step toward creating a vaccine.

Meanwhile, over in Germany, CureVac are also working on a vaccine, with majority investor and owner of football club Hoffenheim – Dietmar Hopp – has revealed that a breakthrough could be made in the next six to seven months.

Talking to Sport1, he said: "It has to be tested first with animals then with human beings.

"But I think it could be available in autumn at the time when possibly the next wave of infections will come."

Hopp, having already gained headlines for protests in football stadiums, revealed that the vaccine will not be privatised after German reports claimed US President Donald Trump was looking to secure some of the scientists working on the project.

What have scientists said about when a vaccine will be available?

Researchers, like Dr Broderick, and Yuen Kwok-yung, from the University of Hong Kong, predict that the fully formed and licensed vaccine will be available from early summer but it will still take "at least one year even if expedited.”

The news comes as the global research community steps up its efforts to halt the fatal epidemic.

Teams around the world are working on their own vaccines, a process that typically takes at least a decade.

British-America Tobacco's scientific research director Dr David O’Reilly said vaccine development was "challenging and complex work", but he believes the company has made a significant break-through with its tobacco plant technology platform.

Researchers in Australia revealed they had successfully synthesised the virus in the laboratory, using a sample from an infected patient.

The sequencing and publication by Chinese scientists of the viral genome in only a few days, compared to the five months it took during the 2002 Sars outbreak, is considered to be a game-changer.

How is coronavirus diagnosed?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "The UK is one of the first countries to have developed a world-leading test for the new coronavirus."

It has similar symptoms to the common cold, making it tricky to identify early.

The NHS states the key symptoms are:

  • a new and persistent cough
  • high temperature
  • shortness of breath

Doctors may order laboratory tests on respiratory specimens and serum, part of your blood, to detect human coronaviruses.

The testing is more likely if you are suspected of having Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

The UK government has bought 3.5 million antibody home testing kits to ensure more people are tested quickly and simply without having to leave home.

On March 31, 2020, the government announced the tests would soon be available to the masses, including NHS workers.

In a press briefing, the government said they would provide Brits with home testing kits, with finger-prick kits that will be available from Amazon and Boots.

How are people treated if they're infected by coronavirus?

Patients in hospital are quarantined and treated for their symptoms to try and help their bodies fight off the virus and prevent it spreading.

In cases exhibiting pneumonia, around 25 per cent, patients are given oxygen and sometimes a ventilator.

If their lungs become too inflamed then doctors work to relieve the pressure on other organs.

In less severe cases patients are given a drip for dehydration or ibuprofen for pain relief while the body fights the infection.

These treatments are reportedly effective for the most part.

There are currently unverified theories that HIV medication could work too as it allegedly did with the 2003 Sars virus, but it is only suggested for last-ditch "compassionate use" for extreme cases of coronavirus.

Other than treatment, detection, sanitation and quarantine measures are being used to restrict the spread of the virus.

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