Sandy commented that the experience learned from this pandemic would allow vaccine manufacturers and distributors to work more quickly in a similar scenario in the future. “We could have moved faster if relatively small amounts of money had been made available earlier,” he said, commenting that the regulators and ethics systems were very responsive while remaining robust.
Access to funds earlier in the pandemic would have made a huge difference to the equitable distribution of vaccines added Daniel who proposed an emergency fund for such situations in the future.
Reflecting on her work in the labs at the start of the pandemic Rachel, who was seconded from her usual research finding a vaccination for tuberculosis, began evaluating immune responses following the trial Covid-19 programme. “It was all hands on deck at the Jenner Institute” she said, with researchers going from processing a handful of volunteer results a day to between 50 and 100 a day. “The Covid response shows what can be done with more people, time and investment” she said.
Warden of Wadham College, Robert Hannigan chaired the discussion with alumni from around the world.