The Duke of Cambridge undertook engagements last week to discuss the ongoing trials to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus and paid a visit to the University of Oxford’s Oxford Vaccine Group to learn about what the team is working on.
William visited the group at Churchill Hospital, meeting with the staff and volunteers there who are participating in the trials for a vaccine, and also learning about the vaccine itself from its creator, Professor Sarah Gilbert, a Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute.
Prince William also spoke with Professor Andrew Pollard, a Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford and the Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial. Professor Pollard leads the clinical team.
The vaccine trials began on 23 April, and the UK government has invested £84 million into its development. There are 10,000 people in the UK currently volunteering to test the vaccine, and trials are also underway in Brazil and South Africa.
William also toured the manufacturing laboratory to see where the vaccine was produced and also saw the examination laboratory where samples from those participating in the clinical trials are examined.
“It was a huge honour to host His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge at the Oxford Vaccine Centre, at Oxford University, today and to describe our ongoing work to develop and trial an effective vaccine against the global threat that is coronavirus,” said Professor Pollard in a statement on the Oxford Vaccine Group’s website.
“We were delighted at the time he took to thank the members of the public who volunteered to take part in this important research. His words of praise to not only the staff he met but all those contributing to this important work has given our teams, who have been working very hard at unprecedented urgency for several months, a real boost, as we continue to tackle this current and pressing challenge.”
The Duke of Cambridge also took part in a video call with researchers from Oxford and its partner, AstraZeneca, on Tuesday to discuss “the science and innovation at the heart of the global response to the pandemic,” according to Kensington Palace.
William said on the call, “If we can amplify and exemplify what is going on here to the rest of the world… that’s going to be the quickest and best way to end everyone’s problems really, so please keep up the good work and just a huge well done.”