PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has said a North Wales laboratory could provide "salvation for humanity" when it starts producing coronavirus vaccines.

Mr Johnson visited Wockhardt UK Ltd in Wrexham on Monday, which will be making the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if it is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

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The Wrexham plant has the capability to produce around 300 million doses of vaccine a year and preparations to produce 150,000 vials a day of the vaccine have been under way for weeks.

Mr Johnson said: "This could, if we're lucky, if everything goes right - be available just in a few weeks.

"This could - and I stress could - really be the salvation for humanity, these vaccines, not just this one but obviously all the vaccines that are currently being developed."

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Mr Johnson said there would be "extra cash" so the nation was ready to create vaccines for the next pandemic.

He added: "We're still waiting for the MHRA green light - they have to give approval but we're obviously hoping that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca will get approved in the course of the next few days and weeks."

Asked when we can expect things to be back to something resembling normality, the Prime Minister said: "Chris Whitty [the government's chief medical officer] and Patrick Vallance [the government's chief medical advisor] haven't been, it's fair to say, the biggest optimists about where we are with virus but they're as convinced as I've ever hear that things will be close to normality, or much, much better by Easter."

Ravi Limaye, Wockhardt UK Ltd managing director, said the company is expected to start delivering the first doses of the vaccine soon.

"We are immensely proud to have been selected to partner with the UK government on this project," he said.

"We have a sophisticated sterile manufacturing facility and a highly skilled workforce."

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