The first effective coronavirus vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19, a preliminary analysis shows.

The developers – Pfizer and BioNTech – described it as a “great day for science and humanity”.

Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.

The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.

A vaccine – alongside better treatments – is seen as the best way of getting out of the restrictions that have been imposed on all our lives.

There are around a dozen in the final stages of testing – known as a phase 3 trial – but this is the first to show any results.

It uses a completely experimental approach – that involves injecting part of the virus’s genetic code – in order to train the immune system.

When will the pandemic end?

It has been an astounding feat to get this far so soon.

No vaccine has gone from the drawing board to being proven highly effective in such a short period of time.

And this vaccine seems to be even more effective than people were hoping.

There are still questions – how long does immunity last, does the vaccine work as well in high-risk elderly people, does it stop you spreading the virus or just from developing symptoms?

And the journey ahead is long and complicated.

Manufacturing enough doses and then actually immunising hundreds of millions of people around the world is a monumental challenge.

Hospital and care home staff will be prioritised along with those at highest risk from Covid-19.

So face masks and social distancing are likely to feature of our lives for some time to come.

But at last, the gloom of Covid is starting to give way to the hope that it might one day be over.

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