“Last year my team was already working on vaccines against Lassa fever, Mers, which is another vaccine against the coronavirus, and also against disease X,” said Professor Gilbert.
“Obviously, we didn’t know what kind of pathogen Disease X was going to be, but we were putting in place plans in case it happened and we had to respond to it. “
The particular type of technology the team is testing has also accelerated the process.
“The ChAdOx vaccine is a so-called platform technology that can be used to make vaccines against many different diseases. “
“We understand the technology very well and the ethical and regulatory bodies also know it very well … and so it allows us to go faster when we need it.”
Earlier this month, Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates made an urgent appeal to world leaders to unite and start planning how the vaccines will be manufactured and distributed now, in order to ‘Avoid a potentially fatal delay in delivering the treatment further.
“We do not yet know which vaccines will be most effective to date, and each requires a unique technology to manufacture,” he said.
“This means that nations must invest in many types of manufacturing facilities now, knowing that some will never be used. Otherwise, we will lose months after the laboratory has developed a vaccination, waiting for the right manufacturer to develop. “