The health secretary promises to give medical teams everything they need but says “nothing about this process is certain”.
Clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine will begin on people from Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.
The COVID-19 vaccine is being developed by scientists at the University of Oxford, who have said it has an 80% chance of success.
Mr Hancock told the government’s daily briefing that the Oxford trial and another at Imperial College London would each get at least another £20m of public money.
The Jenner Institute team at Oxford is starting production before the trial is complete and wants about a million doses ready to be sent out by September.
Mr Hancock said developing a vaccine is an “uncertain science” but that the two teams were making “rapid progress” and would be backed “to the hilt”.
He said: “At the same time we’ll invest in manufacturing capability so if either of these vaccines safely works then we can make it available for the British people as soon as humanely possible.”
However, he cautioned that “nothing about this process is certain”.