‘Keep calm and develop vaccines’: Meet the scientists behind the Oxford jab – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: December 30, 2020 at 8:55 pm

The Oxford team is led by Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the universitys Jenner institute. She has hailed thefirst authorisation of use of the vaccine outside clinical trialsas aday for the team developing the vaccine to celebrate, after a year of extremely hard work under difficult circumstances. Although in the same sentence she struck a typically cautionary note: We still have more to do

Even after their vaccine has become just the third in the world to be granted regulatory approval (following the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines), nobody could accuse the Oxford researchers of being swept away in the hype. Indeed Gilbert and others in her team have spoken openly about how little they have enjoyed the constant attention over the past year, preferring instead to focus on their life-saving work.

During that time, lucrative offers for after dinner speaking gigs have started to roll in for Gilbert, which she has rejected in turn. Another key member of the Oxford group, Professor Catherine Green, who heads the universitys clinical biomanufacturing facility, recently described the media attention as awful. Of their new-found fame, she added: Its not something that we got into our careers to do.

The motivations of the Oxford team can instead be neatly surmised by a mug that Gilbert keeps in her office at the Jenner Institute, which says: Keep calm and develop vaccines. It is a mantra that has served her and her colleagues well this year, juggling the exhaustion of constant work with family life.Gilbert, after all, is the mother of 21-year-old triplets (biochemistry students at Oxford and Bath Universities) who took part in the phase 1 clinical trials of the vaccine. Her regime has involved getting up at about 4am each day, cycling to the laboratory and returning home at about 8pm.

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'Keep calm and develop vaccines': Meet the scientists behind the Oxford jab - Telegraph.co.uk

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