RETHINKING THE VACCINE

BBC Focus - Science & Technology|June 2020

RETHINKING THE VACCINE
Could genetic material, rather than deactivated viruses, help defeat COVID-19?
MICHAEL MOSLEY

Like many others, I am convinced our best hope of defeating this novel coronavirus is by developing a vaccine. So I was delighted, a few months ago, when the BBC series, Horizon, asked me to make a film about the vaccine work being carried out by a team from Imperial College, led by Prof Robin Shattock.

Robin told me that when he first heard about a novel virus causing pneumonia, he assumed that it would be contained. But it soon became clear that this outbreak was not going to be stopped. A critical turning point was the publication by Chinese scientists on 10 January of the virus’s genome – its genetic blueprint. With that information Robin and his team were able, in just a few weeks, to create a prototype RNA vaccine against it.

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June 2020