With medical experts fearing that lifting lockdown measures will lead to a fresh surge in infections, a return to normal life relies heavily on finding a vaccine that works.
Although it has been estimated this will take 18 months, Professor Gilbert has said that in a best-case scenario her team could have one ready by September.
She had previously said: “I think there’s a high chance that it will work based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine,” she said.
“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.”
However, she also warned that “nobody can promise it’s going to work.”
Prof Gilbert, who has been working seven days a week to put the vaccine through development stages, added that her researchers will need to trial it in a country with a high rate of transmission to get quick results.
The daily rise of 980 outstrips the UK’s previous biggest jump of 938.
And for the first time, it means the UK has recorded more new deaths in one day than Italy and Spain did at their peak.
Italy recorded 971 new deaths on March 28 while Spain recorded 950 on April 3, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.