Coronavirus is an infectious disease that has been confirmed in more than two million people across the world. But, experts are relatively confident that a COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available by September this year.
Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise in the UK, and the government has urged the public to stay at home, to avoid becoming infected or spreading the virus further.
People have been advised to remain indoors, as more than 100,000 UK individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The government has now revealed plans to launch a coronavirus vaccine taskforce, in a collaborative effort to find a treatment as soon as possible.
Scientists from the University of Oxford are already preparing to mass produce their own vaccine, and millions could be ready by the end of the year, they said.
The experts had already been planning for a global pandemic, and had previously prepared a blanket virus.
They created a genetically-engineered chimpanzee virus that makes up the majority of the vaccine.
The scientists simply needed to customise their formula for the coronavirus, and experimental trials are underway.
Lead researcher Sarah Gilbert claims to be 80 per cent certain that the vaccine will work.
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“This is my view, because I’ve worked with this technology a lot, and I’ve worked on the Mers-vaccine trials, and I’ve seen what that can do,” she said.
“I think, it has a very strong chance of working.”
Fellow Oxford scientists Adrian Hill added that they hope to have at least one million doses of the vaccine by September.
After that, the process will work a lot faster, and hundreds of millions may be needed by the end of 2020.
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“The aim is to have at least a million doses by about September, once you know the vaccine efficacy results and then move even faster from there,” said Hill.
“It’s pretty clear the world is going to need hundreds of millions of doses, ideally by the end of this year, to end this pandemic, to lead us out of lockdown.”
It’s still not clear whether in practice, the vaccine will be available as soon as September.
But, there is a general consensus among government officials and the World Health Organization that it could take up to 18 months for a treatment to be ready.
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Meanwhile, the most common coronavirus symptoms include a high fever, a cough, and difficulty breathing.
Some patients have also reported losing their sense of taste and smell, diarrhoea, fatigue, and severe headaches.
If you think you may have a COVID-19 infection, you should self-isolate for at least 14 days.
In the UK, 108,692 people have tested positive for coronavirus, while 14,576 have sadly died.
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