UK News This Week in History: The end of the Battle of Britain
England's Covid-19 R rate DROPS for second week
The UK's chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance said in a TV briefing today that social distancing and lockdown rules are keeping the R rate lower than it was in the spring outbreak.But the Government's chief scientific adviser warned that the epidemic is 'growing everywhere' and that more action must be taken to bring down the R rate, which is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.5 for the UK meaning cases will continue to surge exponentially.
Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine triggers a 'robust' immune response in the elderly, a study has shown.
It suggests the group at highest risk of serious illness and death from Covid-19 could be protected if given the experimental jab. Trial results show the vaccine — which is being mass-manufactured by AstraZeneca — prompted the release of antibodies and T-cells, which fight Covid-19, in over-55s.
While this finding on its own doesn't prove the vaccine will work in preventing Covid-19 infection, it is more promising evidence that boosts its chances.
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Previous research had proven the jab, currently the global frontrunner, could prompt an immune response in younger people, who are less affected by the disease.
The vaccine is currently in phase three clinical trials on tens of thousands of people around the world to assess whether it works in real-world scenarios. In these studies, people are given a dose then researchers wait for them to get infected naturally and check if the vaccine was successful in preventing illness.
Its researchers say the jab could be ready by the end of the year and rolled out en masse by spring in 2021.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today refused to rule out getting the vaccine to the most vulnerable Britons before Christmas amid claims NHS staff could receive doses within weeks.
UK is recording more Covid-19 deaths per million people than the US
Two people for every million in the population are dying from Covid-19 in the UK and US every day. But the UK's seven day average is slightly higher, at 2.63 compared to 2.4.Both countries are currently recording around two Covid-19 deaths for every million people — but Britain's rate stands slightly higher at 2.63, compared to 2.4 in the US.
The finding that elderly people enjoy an immune response when given the jab was revealed in data from phase two trials over summer.
The full results have not been made public yet but it has been discussed before its publication to build excitement about the jab.
In a statement, Oxford University said: 'Professor (Andrew) Pollard discussed the early findings of the Phase II safety and immunogenicity trial of the ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 Oxford coronavirus vaccine at a research conference.
Oxford University stands to make hundreds of millions of pounds after negotiating 6% cut of any profits made from Covid-19 vaccine if it's proven to work
Oxford University stands to make hundreds of millions of pounds if its coronavirus vaccine proves successful.
Britain's Covid-19 deaths rise by 55% in a week, ONS data shows
An Office for National Statistics report released today showed 761 Brits fell victim to the disease in the week ending October 16. It is the highest weekly death toll since June 19.Office for National Statistics figures showed 761 Brits fell victim to the disease in the week ending October 16, the most recent recording period.
The prestigious university has negotiated a 6 per cent cut in any royalties from its Covid-19 jab, which is currently the global front-runner.
Bosses at Oxford made the deal with AstraZeneca - the UK pharmaceutical giant that will manufacture and distribute the vaccine - to avoid repeating mistakes in the past. The last time the university saved the world from deadly infections, through its development of penicillin in 1940, it was not savvy enough to make money from it.
AstraZeneca has promised the first 3billion doses of the Covid-19 jab will be supplied at cost, meaning it will not look to make profit. But the vaccine may have to be taken annually - like the flu jab - to give a booster shot as immunity diminishes.
If Oxford's jab remains the best, or only, candidate proven to be effective then the university could therefore make hundreds of millions of pounds.
Oxford University has said any royalties will be 'reinvested directly back into medical research, including a new pandemic preparedness and vaccine research centre'.
Its vaccine is currently in phase three clinical trials on tens of thousands of people around the world, and its researchers say the jab could be ready by the end of the year and rolled out en masse by spring in 2021.
Jurassic World 3: Dominion: release date, cast, plot, trailer, and more
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'These early results covering trial volunteers from the UK in the 56-69 and 70+ age groups have been submitted to a peer-review journal, and we hope to see their publication in the coming weeks.
'Our ongoing trials will provide further data, but this marks a key milestone and reassures us that the vaccine is safe for use and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system in all adult groups.'
The vaccine is being manufactured and distributed by the UK pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.
An AstraZeneca spokesperson added: 'It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the Covid-19 disease severity is higher.
'The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222.'
Earlier, the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that his 'central expectation' is that the majority of the roll-out of a vaccine could be under way in the first half of 2021.
But he refused to rule out any possibility that people could start receiving a vaccine this side of Christmas.
Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that the vaccine programme was 'progressing well'.
Asked how soon NHS staff could be injected with a vaccine, he said: 'Well, we're not there yet.
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'The vaccine programme is progressing well. We're in very close contact with the leading candidates.
'On my central expectation, I would expect the bulk of the roll-out to be in the first half of next year.'
Asked if there could be some this year, he said: 'Well, I don't rule that out, but that is not my central expectation.'
Clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines are ongoing. Some have speculated that two vaccine candidates will report data to regulators this year.
When asked about reports that hospitals are preparing to vaccinate staff, Mr Hancock added: 'We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly.'
'But it's not my central expectation that we'll be doing that this year. The true answer to your question is, we don't know.
'We don't know when the first vaccine will be available but my central expectation is in the first half of next year.
'Nevertheless, we're doing the preparatory work now for how that will be rolled out - the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations has set out the order of priority; and we're doing the logistical work - led by the NHS working with the armed services who are playing an important role in the logistics of it to ensure that we have that rollout programme ready.
'But, you know, preparing for a rollout and actually having the stuff to roll out are two different things.
'It's obviously something that we want to happen as soon as safely can be done. And as fast as safely can be done, but we are not there yet.'
Toffees Could Battle with Rival Premier League Clubs for Djed Spence .
Everton are among among a host of Premier League sides that are interested in pursuing a deal for Middlesbrough defender Djed Spence. According to reports by TEAMtalk, ‘Boro are anticipating an uphill battle to retain their attacking full-back during the upcoming winter transfer window. It is understood that Everton, Wolves, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United are among the clubs who have been ‘doing regular checks’ on Spence, with the defender also being reportedly lined up for a call-up to England under-21 squad. The 20-year-old joined from London side Fulham in 2018 and has since integrated himself strongly into Neil Warnock’s plans.