A trial of a new vaccine that appears to train the immune system to fight coronavirus has begun in the UK.
Early tests showed the jab, developed by US biotechnology company Novavax, leads to high levels of virus-fighting antibodies being produced.
The trial on 10,000 people will now see if the vaccine can prevent people getting ill.
The UK government has already ordered 60 million doses in case it proves successful.
A vaccine that can protect people from Covid-19 is still widely seen as the main exit strategy from the restrictions on all our lives.
The Novavax jab is only the second to enter large scale trials in the UK; the other has been developed by the University of Oxford.
Early trial data on 83 people, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed the vaccine appeared safe.
Blood samples from those injected showed the volunteers were producing antibodies that could neutralise the coronavirus and another part of the immune system, called T-cells, were also trained to fight the virus.
While this is a promising sign, it is not enough to prove the vaccine can either stop infection or prevent someone developing the severest form of the disease.
“This is a really exciting moment, this is only the second phase three efficacy trial in the UK,” Prof Heath told the BBC.
“This vaccine looks like an excellent candidate to be protective against Covid-19, but we need now to prove that.”
The vaccine will be manufactured in Stockton-on-Tees.
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