British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a COVID19 survivor, has warned that a mass vaccine for the highly contagious disease may be over a year away and may in fact never be found.

In his foreword to the government’s new 50-page guidance on a step by step easing of the lockdown measures in place to control the spread of the deadly virus, the UK prime minister lays out plans for businesses to gradually start reopening with “COVID19 Secure” measures of social distancing and for the public to use “good solid British common sense” as the economy is unlocked.

“A mass vaccine or treatment may be more than a year away,” said Johnson, highlighting the work being done in the UK by scientists at Oxford University and Imperial College London towards this mission.

“Indeed, in a worst-case scenario, we may never find a vaccine. So our plan must countenance a situation where we are in this, together, for the long haul, even while doing all we can to avoid that outcome,” he said.

Admitting that a vaccine or drug-based treatment is the only “feasible long-term solution”, he said the UK has accelerated this with “promising” vaccine development programmes and a collaboration between Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca was a vital step that could help rapidly advance the manufacture of a COVID19 vaccine when it is ready. PTI

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