Scientists have identified a coronavirus "Achilles heel" that may pave the way for a vaccine.

Researchers at Scripps Research have studied an antibody in a SARS patient to see how it latched on to an area of the virus.

They claim this antibody latched on to the same spot on a coronavirus sample with "near-atomic-scale resolution".

Although it was not as effective on the coronavirus sample, it did identify a weakness.

Dr Ian Wilson, the study's lead author, said: "The knowledge of conserved sites like this can aid in structure-based design of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2, and these would also protect against other coronaviruses – including those that may emerge in the future."

They added that this study suggests Covid-19 may be vulnerable to certain drugs.

Scientists have found a coronavirus "Achilles heel"

Co-author, Meng Yuan, said: "We found that this region is usually hidden inside the virus, and only exposed when that part of the virus changes its structure, as it would in natural infection."

They are now seeking former coronavirus patients to donate blood to screen for antibodies.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc around the world since it broke out in Wuhan, China, at the end of last year.

On Sunday, the Queen made a historic address to the nation after the UK death toll hit 4,934.

Coronavirus has caused worldwide devastation since it broke out

Her Majesty said in the speech: "I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time.

"A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.

"I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all.

"I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.

The researchers are now looking for volunteers

"I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones.

"Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it. I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.

"And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.

"That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

"The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children."