A coronavirus vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19 according to preliminary data.
The vaccine developed Pfizer and BioNTech described it as a “great day for science and humanity”.
Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.
The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
The UK’s chief medical advisor Prof Chris Whitty said the results showed the “power of science” and was a “reason for optimism” for 2021.
The UK government has ordered more than 40 million doses of the vaccine according to a spokesman for the Prime Minister. With 10 million manufactured for use by the end of the year
The government has proposed that key workers and the elderly would be prioritised for a vaccine.
The news of the possible vaccine meant the FTSE 100 has jumped more than 5.5%, adding £82 billion to the value of its shares in the market’s best day since March.
Speaking at the Downing Street Daily conference Boris Johnson said
“We haven’t yet seen the full safety and it hasn’t been peer-reviewed. When it has we stand ready to use it. If it passes the safety checks, we will begin a UK wide vaccine programme to protect as many people as possible. It is very early stages though and we cannot rely on this news as a solution. The biggest mistake we could make is to slacken our resolve at this critical moment.”
If the vaccine is successful, the Prime Minister said the number of vaccines could protect a third of the population.
Speaking on the UK’s testing efforts, Mr Johnson also spoke about mass testing after a pilot was launched in Liverpool last week.
Stating that the mass testing is a start a but “there is still more to do”
The pilot in Liverpool is also testing a new lateral flow coronavirus test that could give the results within an hour without the use of a laboratory.