Dame Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University, talks about her life in science and her work with a talented and dedicated team at Oxford in developing and testing the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19.
Sir Andrew Pollard talks with colleague Dame Sarah Gilbert on her research and her work on flu vaccines and developing the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. They first discuss her research journey - her chief research interest is the development of viral vectored vaccines that work by inducing strong and protective T and B cell responses. They also review and discuss the different scientific techniques involved in making and testing a vaccine. He hears how she followed the outbreak from January 2020 and her team had all of the scientific tools ready for the pandemic vaccine because of the earlier work that she'd been doing on influenza viruses and on other coronaviruses. She also tells us about how working in the university is a unique situation for vaccine development, as the laboratories where vaccines are designed sit alongside a manufacturing facility and the clinical trial setup which allows the evaluation. On 30 December 2020, the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine she co-developed with the Oxford Vaccine Group was approved for use in the UK. As of January 2022, more than 2.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been released to more than 170 countries worldwide.
Professor Sarah Gilbert was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in February 2022 for her work on co-creating the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.