Showing articles associated with Sarah Gilbert

Professor Gilbert holds the Saïd Professorship of Vaccinology and has been a part of Oxford’s vaccine community since 1994, working closely with Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute. Receiving her professorship in 2010, Gilbert has spent the past decade and a half working on novel influenza vaccinations. She is co-founder of Oxford spinout company Vaccitech, which is continuing her work into developing a universal flu vaccine.

What is your main area(s) of interest/expertise?

My focus is on creating and developing DNA vaccines or modified viruses which can be used as platforms for a vaccine. While these vaccines could potentially be used to vaccinate against a range of conditions, my work has predominantly centred on tackling influenza. Two vaccines we have developed, MVA-NP+M1 and ChAdOx1 NP+M1, target Influenza A, which includes subtypes such as H1N1 (swine flu) and H3N2 (the cause of the 1968 pandemic). They work by creating an enhanced T cell response to multiple influenza subtypes, and can boost a typical low-level defence from T cells to the pathogens to a high level.

What are you working on right now?

We’re working on a modified version of the ChAdOx1 vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to previous work in this area and the efforts of Oxford colleagues, we have been able to condense our timelines in developing a vaccine considerably – reducing a timeline of about five years in normal conditions to three months. This vaccine is already entering into human trials, and will rapidly progress through its Phase II/III studies throughout the spring and summer months of 2020, with a potential candidate ready to go by the autumn. 

Why is Oxford a good place to work in this field of research?

The University has world-class talent and resources at its disposal, which makes it uniquely able to take on challenges such as developing vaccines for influenza and new pathogens like COVID-19. These efforts are supported by a thriving innovation ecosystem which allows for the rapid translation of research into real world impact through the creation of research-driven companies such as Vaccitech.

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Sarah Gilbert