Oxford University breakthrough on global COVID-19 vaccine

When the University of Oxford announced on 23 November that trial data from their candidate vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019, showed significant signs of effective prevention and protection against Covid-19, there was rejoicing around the world.

Everyone in Oxford shared a sense of pride and celebration for the breakthrough, which was achieved thanks to the incredible work of a relatively small team of scientists at the University. At Reuben College, we were particularly proud of one of our Official Fellows, Professor Teresa (Tess) Lambe, who has been at the forefront of this research from the very beginning.

The vaccine was largely designed over the course of a weekend, as soon as the first genetic sequence of the virus was published. Since that weekend of 11 January 2020, Tess has barely had another weekend free, as she and her colleagues worked with diligence and dedication to develop a vaccine in record time.

Crucially, and perhaps most importantly besides its effectiveness, the Oxford vaccine is relatively cheap (£2-4 per dose) and easy to store (at fridge temperature and without specialist equipment), making it truly a vaccine for the world - globally affordable and accessible to those who may need it most.

Daily Mail frontpage

Tess was featured on the front page of the Daily Mail, and quoted in a range of UK and international press for her role in designing the new vaccine against Covid-19.

She is quoted in the Irish Times as saying: 

“Honestly this has been such a team effort, I have had my team in there over weekends, and it is not just us, not just in Oxford, it is all our trial sites and the volunteers. Without them this would not have happened.”

She also stressed the need to get vaccines to people around the world: “We are committed with AstraZeneca and partners to make three billion doses by the end of next year, to make a real impact around the world, for it to be available at cost during the pandemic with no profit and to make it available to low-to-middle income countries.”

View a selection of press mentions

Read our news story about the Phase I/II trial results