UK: Rumour of death in coronavirus vaccine trial is fake news

'I'm very much alive, thank you', says volunteer scientist. 'I'm having a cup of tea'

Screen grab taken from video issued by Britain's Oxford University, showing microbiologist Elisa Granato, being injected as part of the first human trials in the UK for a potential coronavirus vaccine, untaken by Oxford University, England, Thursday April 23, 2020.  The first vaccine trial for COVID-19 Coronavirus have begun Thursday. (Oxford University Pool via AP)

One of the first volunteers in a British trial of a coronavirus vaccine has refuted a fake news report that she had died.

Elisa Granato was one of two people injected last week in Oxford, England, for the first human trial in Europe of a potential vaccine.

Rumours swept social media that she had died but Ms Granato and the British government debunked the news.

The link to the fake story was posted on some Facebook group pages that opposed vaccination.

“I’m very much alive, thank you,” the microbiologist said in a video posted by the BBC. “I’m having a cup of tea.”

The Department of Health said: “News circulating on social media that the first volunteer in a UK coronavirus vaccine trial has died is completely untrue.”

When Ms Granato began the trial, she said she wanted to help advance science.

“I’m a scientist, so of course I want to try and support science, the scientific process, whenever I can," she said.

"And since I don’t study viruses I felt a bit useless. So I felt like this was a very easy way for me to support the cause.

"That’s why I’m here and I’m excited."

More than 150,000 coronavirus infections and more than 20,000 deaths have been confirmed in the UK.