The trial will begin if the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is approved in the coming weeks, as is hoped. The treatment can only be administered with licensed vaccines.

The news comes as the first British patients begin receiving coronavirus vaccinations from Tuesday, a jab made by Pfizer/BioNTech, a week after the UK became the first country in the western world to approve a Covid vaccine.

Those who take part in January’s trial will get one shot of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and one of the Pfizer injection. A vaccine from US biotech firm Moderna will also be included if it gets approval…

The concept is known as a heterologous prime-boost. “It means mix and matching vaccines,” said Bingham. “So you do a prime with one vaccine and then the second – whether it’s 28 days or two months or whatever the agreed periods would be – would be with a different vaccine.”