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A series of knocks: Oxford/AstraZeneca’s bumpy road to Covid vaccine confidence

From doubts about safety in older people to questions about variants, scientists have faced a battle to convince the public and regulators

The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid has barely been out of the news from the moment the race to protect the world’s population from the novel coronavirus began. But not always in a good way.

Talented scientists at the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, led by Prof Sarah Gilbert, were incredibly quick off the mark in developing a potential vaccine, as soon as the virus in Wuhan had been sequenced and made globally available by Chinese scientists on 11 January. They were using an experimental but exciting approach they had tried in Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome), caused by a similar coronavirus.

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