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'Incredibly small' chance of mass vaccine or treatment in next year: UK official

FILE PHOTO: Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty speaks at the daily coronavirus disease (COVID-19) news conference at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain April 16, 2020. Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - There is an “incredibly small” chance of having a highly effective vaccine or treatment for the coronavirus within the next year, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Wednesday.

“In the long run, the exit from this is going to be one of two things, ideally, one of which is a highly effective vaccine ... and/or highly effective drugs,” he told reporters.

“Until we have those - and the probability of having those any time in the next calendar year are incredibly small and I think we should be realistic about that - we’re going to have to rely on other social measures.”

Reporting by David Milliken, Paul Sandle and Alistair Smout, writing by William James; editing by Stephen Addison