We are delighted to announce that the BSI Global Impact & Innovation Award has been awarded to all those involved in the design and development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This one-off BSI award was awarded during the opening ceremony of the British Society for Immunology Congress, which took place in Edinburgh from 28 November to 1 December, to recognise the outstanding achievement from UK immunology research during the pandemic.
A COVID-19 vaccine was developed by the Oxford team starting on 10 January 2020, and was given emergency authorisation for use in the UK on 30 December 2020. It is distributed by AstraZeneca and its partners. More than 2 billion doses have been supplied to more than 170 countries across every continent. Approximately two-thirds of these have gone to low- and lower-middle-income countries. It is estimated that 50 million infections have been prevented and 1 million untimely deaths have been avoided.
The huge amount of effort that was required to achieve this involved a very large team of people, many of whom joined us at BSI Congress. Scientists from a wide variety of teams (including those pictured below) all worked together to design and test the vaccine. They were all supported by a large behind the scenes network of people - legal, technical, admin, IT support, housekeeping, childminding. Additionally, a large number of members of the public came forward to volunteer themselves to join the clinical trials. All these people can say they helped to save over a million lives. The BSI have therefore had a special award made to recognise this tremendous achievement – the BSI Award for Global Impact and Innovation. To everyone involved in the Oxford-Astrazeneca team effort that produced this COVID-19 vaccine - this award is for you.
Professor Andrew Pollard, Professor Sarah Gilbert and Professor Teresa Lambe were present at the ceremony to accept the award on behalf of the Oxford Vaccine Group, collaborators at AstraZeneca, and all their team.
Everyone here at the British Society for Immunology would like to congratulate the team on their outstanding achievements and continuing contributions to UK immunology research.
All images of the Oxford Group credited to John Cairns.