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Scientists are hopeful that they are close to creating a Covid-19 vaccine, after successful tests on mice.
Researchers from Imperial College London say they could start human trials as soon as June this year.
Researcher Dr Paul McKay told the Daily Express: "We've made a vaccine and already tested it in mice. I've got results from a month after I injected those, and the vaccine works really, really well.
"The next thing is that we need the Government to fund us to do human clinical trials. The responses in the mice were huge so I really can't see that it would be a poor response in people."
The scientists say it would most likely be a year or so before it would be available for patients.
Dr McKay told the newspaper the team, led by Mucosal Infection and Immunity head Dr Robin Shattock, had applied for more funding to help get the vaccine up and running.
"If we get the funding for the human clinical trials, we will put it into people by June," he said.
"If British scientists here develop a vaccine it would be great if the Government supported it."
The news about a vaccine comes as the coronavirus death toll rises to 11 in the UK, with 798 confirmed cases on Friday.
However, health officials have said the actual number of infected people could be between 5,000 and 10,000.
Last night, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Europe was now the epicentre of the pandemic.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said: "More than 132,000 cases of Covid-19 have now been reported to the WHO from 123 countries and territories; 5,000 people have lost their lives - a tragic milestone.
"Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China. More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic."
He continued: "Our message to countries continues to be: you must take a comprehensive approach.
"Any country that looks at the experience of other countries with large epidemics and thinks 'that won't happen to us' is making a deadly mistake. It can happen to anyone."
It's okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD's aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we're facing. For more information from the World Health Organisation on Coronavirus, click here.
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