aAt lunchtime on Tuesday, Sir John Bell got a call telling him that the groundbreaking Oxford virus vaccine trial would, unfortunately, be paused. Hours later, news of a speedy investigation into the “unexplained illness” of one of the experiment volunteers began to spread around the world. It was, as White House adviser Anthony Fauci described it, “unfortunate.”

If the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency comes back and says it’s over, “it’s over,” says Sir John, the government’s leading life science advisor. “This is how the game works.”

But the 68-year-old Canadian, who sits on the vaccination staff in the UK, does not seem anxious. When I got the call from Andrew Bullard [who leads the project]I told him: Look, well, these things happen in clinical trials all the time. People who don’t do clinical trials see it and think, it’s a disaster. But, when you have a lot of people studying, it’s not too surprising to be honest. “

Sir John has the most experience in this field. As one of the best immunologists in the world and professor of medicine at Oxford University, he knows how these things might work.

Most vaccines take about eight years to develop. “We are in this for only eight months.”

Read the full interview before Hannah Boland Here.

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