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Sarah Gilbert

Saïd Professorship of Vaccinology (DBE)

Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE), for services to Science and Public Health.

For more than fifteen years we have been making and testing vaccines designed to induce T cell responses to the antigens we encode, initially using antigens from malaria, influenza and tuberculosis. We have had most success with heterologous prime-boost regimes using either a DNA vaccine or recombinant fowlpox or adenovirus to prime a response and recombinant MVA (Modified Vaccinia Ankara) to boost it.

Recombinant adenoviruses for clinical trials can now be produced to GMP by the University's Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility. Staff at the CBF work closely with academics to prepare batches of new vaccines for clinical trials.

Two new vaccines (MVA-NP+M1 and ChAdOx1 NP+M1) have been developed to target Influenza A. Adults already have memory T cell responses to 'flu antigens, but over time these fall below protective levels. In clinical trials, the new vaccines are able to boost these low-level responses to very high levels, either alone or in combination with the seasonal ‘flu vaccine. The enhanced T cell responses could be protective against multiple Influenza subtypes.

Recent work has focused on developing vaccines against emerging and re-emerging pathogens, including MERS, Lassa, Nipah and CCHF. A vaccine against MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) has been tested in clinical trials in the UK, and is now in trials in Saudi Arabia, where the virus is endemic.

We are currently focusing on developing a vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) against SARS-CoV-2 working with OVG and teams within the Jenner including those led by Teresa Lambe and Katie Ewer.

COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Uk

I am a co-founder of the University’s Oxford spin in–out company Vaccitech, which is developing novel vaccines using the non-replicating viral vectors Chimpanzee Adenovirus Oxford (ChAdOx) and Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA).