Coronavirus news: Ministers think vaccine could be ready before Christmas as cases soar | UK | News

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The vaccine is being developed by Germany company Pfizer, with 20 million doses already pre-purchased by the UK. The claim was reported by The Times, which also cites senior figures within No.10 as saying Pfizer’s version of the vaccine will probably be available before the one being developed by the University of Oxford.

When the first doses become available in the UK, elderly and vulnerable people will be prioritised.

Currently, Pfizer is testing the drug on over 40,000 people across six nations.

The earliest the vaccine could be available, in line with safety trials, is late November.

It comes as the company’s chief executive Albert Bourla claimed it had reached “the last mile”.

Several other companies are working on vaccines. British firm Glaxosmithkline has said it is committed to producing one billion doses by the end of 2021.

The news comes as researchers from Imperial College London (ICL) have warned the government’s current measures to control COVID-19 are not working.

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This is equivalent to roughly one person in every 78 people in England having the virus.

Professor Paul Elliott, a lead researcher at ICL, told Sky News: “We are seeing an increasing rate in the virus in all regions.

“Whatever is happening – be it behaviour (of the public) or implementation of current policy – it has not been sufficient to turn down that rate of increase.”

The study also shows that while cases are highest in the North of England, cases are rising most quickly in the South.

London is estimated to have an ‘R number’ as high as 2.86, while across the nation more widely it is 1.56.

Yorkshire and the Humber is the area in the UK with the most infections, with one in 37 people on average having the virus.

Professor Steven Riley, another author behind the study, told the BBC the government’s current measures are “not sufficient”.

He added: “There has to be a change, the rate of growth is really quite rapid, one way or another there has to be a change before Christmas.”

The most recent data from the government shows 24,701 people tested positive for coronavirus yesterday, with 310 deaths.





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