THE government has committed £250m towards developing a coronavirus vaccine.

The Business Secretary Alok Sharma addressed the nation during the daily briefing from Downing Street today (Sunday, May 17).

Mr Sharma began by outlining the latest figures, saying a total of 2,580,769 people had now been tested and 243,303 of those had tested positive for the Covid-19.

There are 10,035 people being treated for coronavirus in UK hospitals, down 15 per cent on the previous week.

The UK death toll from coronavirus now stands at 34,636 - up by 170 since yesterday, however it should be noted daily death tallies announced on Sundays and Mondays are typically lower than on the other five days, due to hospital reporting delays.

The focus of today's briefing was the mission to develop a vaccine.

Mr Sharma said the UK was home to two of the front-running institutes to develop a vaccine, Oxford University and Imperial College London.

In Oxford, clinical trials have begun on a vaccine, with subjects now being closely monitored.

Mr Sharma added that Imperial was making good progress with clinical trials expected to start in June with potential further trials planned for October.

In his speech Mr Sharma announced a further £84m in government funding to help accelerate this work and develop facilities to mass produce the Oxford vaccine immediately, should it be proven successful.

A licensing agreement has also been agreed with AstraZeneca has been reached allowing for the manufacture of 30 million doses to be available by September.

Mr Sharma said the UK would have first access to the vaccine if this were the case.

The Business Secretary also announced the government would be pumping a further £93m into the UK's first vaccines manufacturing centre in Oxford.

The extra money means the project can be brought forward by 12 months and completed in Summer 2021.

Mr Sharma said this extra investment means, should the vaccine prove successful, it would be possible to manufacture enough doses for the entire UK population within six months.

However, echoing warnings made by other authorities and experts, he says "it's possible will never find a successful coronavirus vaccine".

The Business Secretary thanked the scientists and academic staff for condensing works that would usually take years into months and even weeks in some cases.