A tiny bottle holds hope for humanity's future after trials of a Covid vaccine showed it to be 90 per cent effective.
And care home residents and staff could be given the two-dose jab within weeks, with it rolled out to others next year – if it is approved by regulators.
Britain will have 10million doses, for five million people, available this year.
Chairman of Pfizer, Dr Albert Bourla, which developed the vaccine with BioNTech, said: “Today is a great day for science and humanity.”
Experts tonight told of their joy over the development of an effective vaccine that may have Britain taking its first tentative steps out of the pandemic within weeks.
Care home staff and elderly residents may start being inoculated before Christmas if the two-dose jab is approved by UK regulators. The programme is expected to be rolled out in the rest of the population next year.
It sparked hopes of a return to normal by the spring, after months of misery in a seemingly endless battle against Covid, that has so far resulted in 61,498 deaths.
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Trials analysis has shown the vaccine, produced by US drugs giant Pfizer and German tech firm BioNTech, is 90 per cent effective. The Government has secured access to 40 million doses.
And 10 million – enough for five million Britons – will be available to the UK by the end of the year.
Oxford University’s Professor Sir John Bell, who sits on the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said: “I am really delighted with this result.”
Asked if the jab could mean a return to normal early next year, he replied: “Yes, yes, yes, yes. I am probably the first guy to say that but I will say it with confidence.”
Pfizer chairman Dr Albert Bourla added: “Today is a great day for science and humanity.
"We are a significant step closer to providing people with a breakthrough to help end this global health crisis.”
But Boris Johnson urged caution and warned people not to let their guard down in the Covid fight.
The PM said: “If the Pfizer vaccine passes all the rigorous safety checks and is proven to be effective, we will begin a UK-wide NHS-led programme of distribution.
“We absolutely cannot rely on this as a solution.
"The biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve.”
But he admitted the vaccine meant the “scientific cavalry” was finally on its way.
SAGE adviser Dr Jeremy Farrar said the manufacture of the jabs would be the “largest and fastest” in history and rolling it out across the country would be a “phenomenal challenge”.
Global markets surged yesterday as the news will spark a manufacturing blitz.Pfizer’s value soared by £21billion at one point.
Vaccines normally take at least five years to develop.
The Pfizer-BioNTech jab is one of around a dozen in the final stages of testing, but the first to show results.
No safety concerns were identified.
Regulators are awaiting trial safety data on the 22,000 people injected. Oxford University is also developing a vaccine.