The human challenge trial,  which will help with vaccine and treatment development, will see up to 90 adult volunteers paid around £4,000 to be infected with Covid. It will involve some 17 days of quarantine and follow-ups over 12 months.

Live updates


More than 1.5 million jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and February 16

The NHS England data shows a total of 1,595,410 jabs were given to people in London between December 8 and February 16, including 1,531,349 first doses and 64,061 second doses.

This compares with 2,576,582 first doses and 73,080 second doses given to people in the Midlands, a total of 2,649,662.

The breakdown for the other regions is:

East of England – 1,608,086 first doses and 60,920 second doses, making 1,669,006 in total

North East and Yorkshire – 2,101,422 first and 83,616 second doses (2,185,038)

North West – 1,765,663 first and 69,776 second doses (1,835,439)

South East – 2,185,490 first and 86,172 second doses (2,271,662)

South West – 1,559,910 first and 57,715 second doses (1,617,625)


Here’s the latest on Covid-19 vaccine numbers from NHS England:

A total of 13,891,042 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and February 16, according to provisional NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 315,797 on the previous day’s figures.

Of this number, 13,395,338 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 312,669 on the previous day, while 495,704 were a second dose, an increase of 3,128.


Here’s the latest on coronavirus deaths in England hospitals:

A further 522 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 80,115, NHS England said on Wednesday.

Patients were aged between 24 and 103. All except 20, aged between 33 and 91, had known underlying health conditions.

The deaths were between April 19 2020 and February 16 2021, with the majority being on or after February 12.

There were 60 other deaths reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.


Scientists says coronavirus human challenge trial could be adapted to new variants

Dr Andrew Catchpole, chief scientific officer at clinical company hVIVO, which has pioneered viral human challenge models, told a press briefing: “This first trial will also then be a critical platform and critical learnings that we can then translate to any new variant viruses, should we need to put a variant virus into the model.

“It will take us approximately three to four months, probably, to manufacture a new variant of virus, should that be required.

“Then we’ll be ready to start testing in the challenge model with a variant virus, so we are able to respond very quickly to a variant.

“We believe the timelines of setting up a variant in the model are actually shorter than it would be for a vaccine to respond to such a similar timeline.”


Another six people have died with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland

A further 297 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health said.

A total of 434 people are in hospital with the disease, with 53 in intensive care.


Meghan pregnancy photographer Misan Harriman joins judging panel for Evening Standard lockdown photo competition

The Standard launched its photography and video competition this month, calling on Londoners to capture their everyday lives during the pandemic.

Whether it be a video of how you spend your Friday nights, pictures showing something new rustled up in the kitchen, or your family out running, we want to see your personal reflections of lockdown — creativity will be at the forefront of healing and recovery.

Read our full story here:


Data shows that proportion of deaths among the over-80s “hasn’t budged yet” – Professor Dame Angela McLean

When asked about the effects of the vaccination programme, she said: “The place we look is the proportion of deaths in the over-80s, that’s the first place we would expect to see a sign, that hasn’t budged yet.”

Professor Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, added: “My group does a weekly monitoring of the growth of the epidemic in Scotland and we have just begin to see a signal where cases, not just hospitalisations and deaths, are not growing so fast in the over-75s – we have just seen the signal and I want to wait a little longer to be confident it is a strong single, but there’s a hint.”


Charles and Camilla learn about vaccine trials during hospital visit

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have visited a Birmingham hospital to learn about vaccine trials.

Charles and Camilla toured the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to meet volunteers taking part in clinical trials for Covid-19 jabs.

The couple also met healthcare staff receiving their inoculations in their first joint official public event for two months.

When the heir to the throne and his wife first arrived at the hospital they were greeted at a distance by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock and all wore face masks.

The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is believed to have treated the largest number of Covid-positive patients of any NHS Trust in the UK – more than 12,500 – with 10,000 of these discharged.

The Trust has also recruited a large number of patients for the trials – 12,000.


Statistics ‘strongly suggest’ vaccines are cutting virus death toll – Sturgeon

Official figures indicate vaccinations are reducing the death toll from coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said the latest report from National Records of Scotland (NRS) on coronavirus deaths contains the “first hard evidence of the positive impact of vaccination”.

Between February 8 and 14, 323 Covid-related deaths were registered – a decrease of 54 fatalities from the previous week.

With the number of deaths having fallen for the last three weeks, Ms Sturgeon noted hospital deaths were down 11 per cent over that period, with deaths in people’s homes and other “non-institutional settings” down 29 per cent.

“However deaths in care homes, which were the early focus of the vaccination programme, have fallen by 62 per cent,” the First Minister said.

“In fact, with the exception of one week at the end of August when there were only two Covid deaths registered overall, care homes accounted for a smaller proportion of overall Covid deaths last week than at any time since March of last year.

“I think that is positive news, given the toll the virus has taken on our care homes.”


PM praises “outstanding” vaccination rollout across the UK

Speaking from a mass vaccination centre at Cwmbran Stadium in Cwmbran, south Wales, Mr Johnson said: “I think that across the whole of the UK there has been an outstanding vaccination performance.

“I think it’s 46,000 they’ve done in this centre, a really outstanding achievement.

“I think, as the song goes, ‘I’ve been all around the world and then Japan, I’ve never found a place for vaccines like Cwmbran’. How about that?”

He added: “I think that, overall, if you look at the infection rates across the UK, they are coming down a bit now. That’s very encouraging.

“I think one of the big questions people will want to ask is to what extent now is that being driven by vaccination. We hope it is, there are some encouraging signs, but it’s still early days.”




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