A further 888 patients have died in hospitals across the UK on Saturday bringing the overall total of coronavirus deaths to 15,464.
After hopes that the curve of deaths might starting to flatten, the UK have seen their worst figures in a week and the fourth worst day of deaths.
It is feared that the death toll may well be much higher as thousands more bodies are yet to be counted as there is a delay in reporting, including a failure to report deaths in care homes.
Clinical trials are due to start at Oxford University for a potential vaccine.
Professor Sir John Bell, a member of the Government’s vaccine task force and an adviser on life sciences, was asked of the possibility of a vaccine being produced by the autumn.
Professor Bell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “The real question is will it have efficacy?
“Will it protect people, and that has not been tested and it will only be tested once you have vaccinated a significant number of people and exposed them to the virus and counted how many people have got the virus in that population.
“So, we won’t even get a signal for that until May.
“But if things go on course and it does have efficacy, then I think it is reasonable to think that they would be able to complete their trial by mid-August.”
Professor Bell said, of the clinical trials vaccine being tested at Oxford, “If we can see evidence of a strong immune response by the middle or the end of May, then I think the game is on.
“Then, of course, there is the massive issue of how you manufacture at scale many billions of doses.”