Episode 11: Vaccine breakthroughs

We started this series back in April. The aim was to speak to some of those leading researchers here at Bristol who were helping the global community respond to the rapid emergence of COVID-19.

Today, less than ten months after the start of the pandemic, we now face the prospect of not one but three promising vaccines that could bring an end to this global public health crisis.

For this episode, I wanted to focus on the development of these vaccines over the past several months. To do so, I was delighted to be reunited with Professor Adam Finn – the very first guest we had on the series back in April.

Adam is director of the Bristol Children’s Vaccine Centre, chair of the World Health Organisation’s European Technical Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation and, most recently, leader of Bristol UNCOVER – a group researchers from the University of Bristol who have been united in their efforts to combat COVID-19.

We discussed the novel approach taken to synthesise these new vaccines, and the process behind their development, clinical trials and regulatory approval. Reassuringly, as Adam explains, although the process has been accelerated, no corners have been cut and the data on safety and efficacy is in line with what we would normally expect at this stage for any new vaccine.

I’m grateful to both Adam for sharing his expertise, and of course, to the hundreds of individuals across the UK (and particularly in Bristol) who’ve put themselves forward for these clinical trials. Thanks to their participation, we can all be hopeful of returning to some semblance of normality in the coming months.


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