British scientists said Tuesday the first clinical trials of a vaccine against a common virus linked to several types of cancer would begin within a year.

But Britain's Cancer Research Campaign, a national charity which funded the work, cautioned that it would be more than a decade before the vaccine, developed specifically to protect against Epstein Barr virus, would be widely available.EBV, a common herpes virus that causes glandular fever, is carried by more than 90 percent of the world's population and is linked with a number of different cancers worldwide, including Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

In Africa, EBV is associated with another cancer of the lymphatic system called Burkitt's lymphoma. In China, the virus is thought to be responsible for causing cancer of the nasal cavity, which leads to more than 50,000 deaths a year.

Project leader Dr. John Arrand, of the Paterson Institute in the northern English city of Manchester, one of three research institutes involved in developing the vaccine, said:

"If the patient trials repeat the success of the laboratory work, we expect this vaccine has the potential to protect millions of people throughout the world from often fatal EBV-related cancers."

Professor Gordon McVie, director of the CRC's scientific department, said clinical trials involving up to 100 Britons would begin at the end of this year or early in 1994. Prior to that, a toxicity study would involve 20 volunteers.