It was their mother’s vaccine—she leads the University of Oxford team that developed it—but there wasn’t a big family talk. “We didn’t really discuss it as I wasn’t home much at the time,” Gilbert told me recently. She’d been working around the clock, as one does while trying to end a pandemic, and at any rate wasn’t worried for her kids. “We know the adverse event profile and we know the dose to use, because we’ve done this so many times before,” she says. “Obviously we’re doing safety testing, but we’re not concerned.”
With safety low on her list of worries (her triplets are fine), Gilbert is focused on quickly determining how effective the vaccine will be and how it will be made. In April, Oxford struck a deal with British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca Plc to spearhead global manufacturing and distribution and help run more trials around the world. AstraZeneca has agreed to sell the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis during the crisis if it proves effective and has lined up deals with multiple manufacturers to produce more than 2 billion doses.
Gilbert has been all over the British press, but she appears to regard public attention as a distraction. For more than two decades she worked anonymously, developing vaccines while also, of necessity, churning out endless grant applications. Her research was rarely discussed outside scientific circles. Now she’s leading one of the most high-profile and advanced vaccine candidates against Covid-19
A 15-year-old boy has died from bubonic plague in western Mongolia, according to government health officials.The teenager caught the plague after hunting and eating marmot, according to Dorj Narangerel, spokesperson for Mongolia’s Ministry of Health. He died on Sunday.Marmots are large ground squirrels, a type of rodent, that have historically been linked to plague outbreaks in the region.Tests confirmed the teenager had contracted bubonic plague and authorities imposed quarantine measures in the Tugrug district of Gobi-Altai province.The quarantine, which began on Sunday, will run until Saturday, and authorities have already isolated 15 people who came into contact with the teenager. All of them are healthy.Rodents are the main vector of plague transmission from animals to humans, but the disease can also be passed on through flea bites or from person to person.
, with Phase III, or final-stage, trials under way involving thousands of people in Brazil, South Africa, the U.K., and, soon, the U.S. Money is no longer a struggle.