The seven illustrious scientists who took on Covid-19 as part of Team Oxford.
The pioneering Oxford University scientists who took on the “high-stakes undertaking” of battling Covid-19 have shed light on their life-saving effort, which has earned them a place in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Researchers Sarah Gilbert, Andrew Pollard, Peter Horby, Martin Landray, Catherine Green, Teresa Lambe, and Adrian Hill may not be well-known, yet they all helped develop a coronavirus vaccine and identify new therapeutic therapies.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was approved in December after specialists worked at breakneck speed to stem the tide of a pandemic that had already claimed many lives.
Normally, it takes years to develop and commercialize a successful vaccine, but it has been a race against time since the beginning of last year.
Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, who was knighted for his services to public health, remarked, “The pace has been rather astonishing since we’ve sought to compress around 10 years of vaccine research into 11 months.”
Professor Catherine Green, Director of the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, who has been awarded an OBE for services to research and public health, remarked, “Science is not generally such a high-stakes endeavor.”
“Our initiatives are spaced out over many years – but I think it was the focus on cooperation, community, and understanding that we were in this not only for the UK but for the entire world,” she told the PA news agency alongside her colleagues.
“So just wanting to do our best gets you through,” says the author. “There’s no guarantee of success, but simply wanting to do our best gets you through.”
Professor Sarah Gilbert, who holds the Said Professorship of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute and Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine and was made a dame for her role in developing the new vaccine, said: “We didn’t really think that far ahead when we were developing the vaccine; it was all about going from day to day, and it has been absolutely phenomenal the way the vaccine has been rolled out.” (This is a brief piece.)