More than 2,400 people in Northern Ireland have volunteered to take part in Covid-19 vaccine trials.
The figure was revealed as the government today launched a fresh push to encourage people to join the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry. Across the UK, over 100,000 people have so far signed up. The target is to reach 500,000 by October.
A vaccine is widely seen as the best chance of getting our lives back to normal.
While several are in development, including the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, it is still uncertain which - if any - will work. Large scale clinical trials are a vital part of the process.
Today the government revealed that over 2,400 in Northern Ireland have registered for future vaccine trials.
Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said: "Thank you to over 2,400 people in Northern Ireland who have registered for NHS Covid-19 clinical studies.
"UK scientists and researchers are working hard to create a vaccine and I encourage more people to volunteer for vaccine trials to help us find the best way to tackle coronavirus."
Researchers hope to recruit volunteers from across society, especially those more likely to benefit from a vaccine. These include the over-65s, frontline health and social care workers, and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Kate Bingham, chair of the government's Vaccines Taskforce, said: "Protecting those at risk is the only way we will end this pandemic.
"That's why we are working as quickly as possible to run clinical studies on the most promising vaccines to see whether they offer protection against Covid-19, whilst adhering to the UK's strict safety and regulatory processes. And we need people throughout the UK to sign up to the registry to help us achieve this."
Dinesh Saralaya, consultant respiratory physician and director of the National Institute for Health Research, Bradford, said: "By working together, we can produce efficient vaccines which are likely to protect all sections of our society from this dreadful virus in future."
He said research trials and studies are strictly regulated for ethics and safety.
England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: "The more people who volunteer to take part, the more likely we find an answer to whether any vaccine is effective."