Medical researchers at Oxford University say they are '80 percent' certain a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by fall. Credit: Handout.

While researchers in approximately 20 nations are in a race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, a leading Oxford professor said one could be available by September, the UK’s Metro reported.

Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, says she is “80 per cent” confident that the vaccine her team are working on would be successful, the report said, adding that human trials are set to take place in the next two weeks.

“I think there’s a high chance that it will work based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine,” Professor Gilbert told The Times.

“It’s not just a hunch and as every week goes by we have more data to look at … I would go for 80 per cent, that’s my personal view.”

Asked if the vaccine could be ready by September, Professor Gilbert replied: ‘”Yes and we have to go for that.”

She added it was “just about possible if everything goes perfectly.”

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the government are already making preparations in the event that a vaccine is available to the public.

“I am engaged in all of that and I know quite a lot about the Oxford project and it is really great to see some hope, especially on the front page of the newspapers,” he told Sky News.

“But the way I think about it is as follows, we will put all the resources into getting a vaccine because of the massive benefits we’d have if we had a vaccine.

“We’re also putting enormous resources into when a vaccine comes about, if and when, then we can manufacture enough here to be able to get it to everybody as quickly as possible.

‘It’s not just about discovering a vaccine and then checking its safe, it’s also about manufacturing it. We have got manufacturing capability in this country but it needs expanding.

“We’re doing that in parallel while we’re waiting for the scientists to develop the vaccine.”

The UK death total due to Covid-19 currently stands at 8,958, while the total number of confirmed cases is 73,758.

The lockdown in the UK could make it more difficult to test the vaccine, as human contact is low, so researchers will have to conduct trials somewhere with a higher rate of transmission, to get a quicker result, Sky News reported.

Earlier in the week, researchers at Southampton University said they had discovered that the virus has a “low shielding,” meaning that a vaccine could be easier to develop.

The UK is at the forefront of vaccine funding, and pumped £210 million into an international fund last month — the biggest contribution at the time for a vaccine, Sky News reported.

The government has also said that it would be willing to buy millions of doses, should trials prove successful.