The UK is one step closer to making a COVID-19 vaccine publicly available after it was shown to activate an immune response against the virus.

Researchers from the University of Oxford have been working with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to find a way to treat coronavirus.

The vaccine is called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and it was trialled among 1,077 people. It was shown to be safe to use and developed antibodies and immune cells which protect against COVID-19.

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No serious side effects were recorded, although about 70 per cent of the participants complained of a headache and temperate after being injected, which could be managed with over the counter painkillers.

The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.

Speaking to BBC News, Professor Andrew Pollard, from the Oxford research group, said: “We’re really pleased with the results published today as we’re seeing both neutralising antibodies and T-cells.

“They’re extremely promising and we believe the type of response that may be associated with protection.”

At the moment, scientists cannot say whether the vaccine can prevent infection from coronavirus, nor whether it can stop people from getting seriously ill. Larger trials, involving around 47,000 people from around the world will investigate.

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Prof Sarah Gilbert, from the University of Oxford, added: “There is still much work to be done before we can confirm if our vaccine will help manage the COVID-19 pandemic, but these early results hold promise.”

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, said the vaccine results was “very positive news”, adding: “There are no guarantees, we’re not there yet and further trials will be necessary – but this is an important step in the right direction.”

Experts around the globe are working on creating coronavirus vaccines. It is thought more than 140 are currently being developed.

The findings have been published in the Lancet.

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