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UK vaccine volunteers are to be deliberately infected with Covid-19 in the first trial of its kind.

The participants will first be injected with an experimental vaccine before they are given a “challenge” dose of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, a few weeks later, the Financial Times reports.

It comes as the NHS contact tracing app is finally launched in England and Wales following months of delays and questions about its effectiveness.

A former head of the civil service has said Boris Johnson’s response to the coronavirus crisis has been marked by a lack of strong leadership and clear strategy which has left the UK “incapable” of combatting the pandemic effectively and risks “protracted and extremely costly” consequences.

In a speech today setting out his “humbling” assessment of the UK’s performance, Gus O’Donnell will accuse ministers of deferring too much to medical experts in order to be able to say they were “following the science”, while paying too little attention to other harms to the nation’s well-being.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said he did not know of UK chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance’s shares in a drug company contracted to develop a coronavirus vaccine for the government until reading about it in a newspaper.

According to the Telegraph, Sir Patrick holds a deferred bonus of 43,111 shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) worth £600,000 from his time as president of the multinational drug company.

Asked whether there was a conflict of interest on LBC radio, Mr Hancock said: “No, there are rules around these kinds of things and I’m sure that Sir Patrick has been fully advised by them.

He added: “The thing about the vaccine is actually the Oxford vaccine is being developed by AstraZeneca which is one of GlaxoSmithKline’s biggest competitors so I think if you know Sir Patrick Vallance as I do, any suggestion that he is doing anything other than his level best to try and tackle this virus is wrong.

My colleague Daisy Lester has put together this handy roundup of important coronavirus news you may have missed overnight:

New research finds 90 per cent of Americans haven’t been exposed to Covid-19 while another major outbreak in university accommodation is reported

British researchers are reportedly set to run clinical trials in which volunteers are deliberately infected with Covid-19 to test the effectiveness of potential vaccines, Chris Baynes reports.

So-calledchallenge trialsare expected to begin in January at a quarantine facility in London, according to the Financial Times, which cited people involved in the project. About 2,000 participants are said to have signed up through a US-based advocacy group, 1Day Sooner.

The studies will reportedly be government-funded and led by Imperial College London researchers, although 1Day Sooner said it would also launch an appeal for public funding of a biocontainment facility big enough to quarantine 100 to 200 participants.

Matt Hancock has suggested that up to 10,000 people a day could be contracting coronavirus, as he urged members of the public to download the long-delayed NHS tracing app launched today.

Health secretary also urges members of the public to download the long-delayed NHS tracing app launched today

Health secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast that the more people who download the new coronavirus app across England and Wales “the better”, adding it was goodfor your community”.

Mr Hancock said thevast majorityof people had the right software, adding that some may need to upgrade their phone’s operating system.

The app would tell people if they had been in close contact with somebody infected with Covid-19 and whether they needed to self-isolate, he said.

“Now, that self-isolation is voluntary, unlike at the moment, where it’s mandatory to self-isolate if you are told to by NHS Test and Trace.

But if you need the support the financial support to self-isolate, then you can click through and declare that.

Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he had been asked several times what proportion of the population needs to use the app to make it effective. His answer, he said, was: “The more people get it, the safer we will all be.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has called off plans for a budget this year, as he revealed he will announce new financial measures today to respond to the worsening Covid crisis.

News of an imminent statement heightened expectations that the chancellor will announce some form of replacement for his furlough scheme, currently due to shut down on 31 October despite warnings of a “tsunami” of job losses.

Labour is calling for a furlough scheme – which had paid up to 80 per cent of wages of workers who would otherwise be laid off – to be targeted at the sectors worst-hit by coronavirus, such as aviation, retail and hospitality.

The tool – available for iPhone and Android – is intended to help the country stop the spread of the virus as part of the government’s response to the pandemic.

It has gone through extensive testing and redesigns and is now available anyone in England and Wales from 24 September.

The long-awaited NHS contact tracing app will finally be rolled out in England and Wales today following months of delays and questions about its effectiveness.

NHS Test and Trace, which is responsible for the service, said the app was used to send alerts to users during a trial period on the Isle of Wight and in the London borough of Newham, after people had tested positive.

The latest version was piloted among residents of both areas as well as NHS volunteers from mid-August, after the first app was marred by technical issues and eventually scrapped.

As the software is voluntary, its success will also depend heavily on how many people choose to download and use it.

An advertising campaign to promote the app will appear on television this evening with the strapline, “Protect your loved ones. Get the app”.

It comes at a critical time for the UK, with confirmed cases of Covid-19 on the rise daily.

UK vaccine volunteers are to be deliberately infected with Covid-19 in the first trial of its kind.

The participants will first be injected with an experimental vaccine before they are given a dose of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, a few weeks later, the Financial Times reports.

The government-funded so-called “challenge trials” are expected to begin in January and it is thought they could take place at a 24-bed quarantine facility in Whitechapel, east London, or somewhere nearby.

Commuters at Waterloo station, in London, after prime minister Boris Johnson announced a range of new restrictions to combat rising coronavirus cases in England.

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Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-uk-news-live-stats-vaccine-nhs-app-cases-deaths-covid-latest-b569166.html

Coronavirus, United Kingdom National Health Service, Pennsylvania

World news – GB – UK Covid vaccine volunteers to be deliberately infected as NHS contact tracing app launched – follow live

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