Professor Sarah Gilbert to net £15m after Oxford vaccine start-up makes US debut
Countries including Germany and Canada have suspended the rollout of the jab in those aged below 60 and 55. AstraZeneca has said it is assessing “whether these very rare cases of blood clots associated with thrombocytopenia occur any more commonly than would be expected naturally in a population of millions of people”.
The UK’s vaccine advisory board today said those under 30 would be offered an alternative to the Oxford vaccine given the benefits and risks were more “finely balanced” among younger people.
The move is likely to spark concerns that this could delay the vaccination programme in the UK, with figures published on the Scottish Government’s website in January and later removed suggesting that around 75pc of vaccine supplies are expected to be AstraZeneca between April and the start of June.
This week, the third approved Covid-19 vaccine – Moderna – has started to be rolled out across the UK.
Professor Gilbert co-founded Vaccitech after she joined Oxford University’s Jenner Institute in 2010 and for the past ten years has been specialising in emerging pathogens. Up until Covid-19 hit, her work had been focused on three viral pathogens: Lassa Fever, Nipah and another coronavirus Middle East Respiratory syndrome (MERS), creating vaccines which would act as “trojan horse” and trick human cells into produce an immune response.
Earlier this year, Professor Gilbert was awarded the Albert Medal for her work, a prestigious honour which has previously been bestowed upon Sir Stephen Hawking. Among those who took part in the early vaccine trials were her triplets, something she says they decided to do of their own accord.
“Living close to Oxford, it’s something students around here get to know about, trials,” she told the Telegraph last year.