On Thursday, the first volunteers received injections as part of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccination trial. Government health experts have warned a vaccine is unlikely to be available this year, but the new trial raises hopes a cure for the killer pandemic could be available for public use as early as September. Professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, Sarah Gilbert, who led the pre-clinical research, said she has a “high degree of confidence” in the vaccine being successful and ultimately trialed.
But Dr Emily Cousens, who researches at Oxford Brooke’s but teaches at the University of Oxford, wrote in the Huffington Post: “The race is on and researchers at Oxford are doing vital, life-saving work. But races have winners and losers.
“If my university is the first to develop the vaccine, I’m worried that it will be used as it has been in the past, to fulfil its political, patriotic function as proof of British excellence.
“The story will be clear: China, once again, has unleashed a threat to civilisation. But the best brains of the UK have saved the world.”
Dr Cousens also took aim at Boris Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, lashing out at the Government’s response to the pandemic.
She admitted fearing a breakthrough vaccine would be a cause of celebration and the country would forget the “devastating” mistakes made by the Prime Minister’s top team.
But the academic’s controversial comments have sparked a furious reaction from Britons, who are desperately hoping for a vaccine that has killed close to 20,000 people already in the UK.
Reacting to the story from Express.co.uk on Facebook, Damian Davies raged: “What an utter buffoon she is!
“Finding a vaccine is a priority no matter who finds it so lives can be saved.
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Hendrik Willem Kramer wrote: “What kind of reasoning is that?
“Is it not about the wellbeing and survival of the human species?
“Politics and all that c**p are secondary in a time like this! Get the priorities right professor!”
Tony England ridiculed the professor, and said: “Is it in the air or could it be something in the water?
“Maybe this virus has a side effect that we don’t yet know about, but something has definitely caused a severe outbreak of hyper stupidity.
“There seems to be more and more of it about every day. My brain hurts.”
More than 70 vaccinations are currently in development throughout the world, as the international community desperately searches for a solution to destroy the killer coronavirus pandemic.
Just four countries – the UK, US, China and Germany – have made sufficient progress so far in the search for a vaccine and progressed them to clinical trials.