Meet Sarah Gilbert, The Female Scientist Leading Oxford Vaccine Team

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Trials for the coronavirus vaccine are set to begin this week thanks to a team of researchers working round the clock lead by Oxford University professor, Sarah Gilbert. She is leading the race to finding a vaccine for coronavirus.

She is professor of vaccinology at Oxford. She and her team had compressed research that normally takes five years into just four months — but without compromising safety.

It is, she admits, exciting to being part of this once-in-a-lifetime scientific endeavour to save people and overcome the COVID-19.

Everybody has to do what they can in this pandemic, says Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford University. “Some people can do the best thing by staying at home and not going out to meet their friends, some people can help their neighbours with shopping and leave it on their doorstep. There are healthcare workers who are working extremely hard, sometimes without proper personal protective equipment.

“What we can do is make a vaccine — so that’s what we’re doing.”

Asked if she was confident her vaccine will work, Gilbert replied: “We have used this vaccine technology before and we have seen it perform very well. We think it is the best thing to use.”

Gilbert acknowledged it was still not clear whether, once a vaccine was discovered, people will need a single dose or an annual one.

“The first thing is to have a vaccine that works at all, and then to start looking at how long the immunity lasts for,” she said.

“So there’s still a long way to go. I suspect that in younger adults, say under the age of 55, it won’t need to be an annual vaccination, maybe it will need to be for older people.”

Moji Alabi

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