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How close are we to developing a vaccine for COVID-19?

19 June 2020

As part of the continuing inquiry into the Science of COVID-19, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will hold two back-to-back evidence sessions, covering immune response and vaccine development.

Purpose of session

The Committee will build on last week's evidence about immunology, hearing from further leading researchers about the extent (and duration) of immunity that we retain after the infection.

The Committee will then consider the approaches being used to develop vaccines, hearing from the lead researchers at the Oxford and Imperial College vaccine groups, as well as a senior executive from the pharmaceuticals industry.


Tuesday 23 June at 10.00am

Virtual meeting

  • Professor Arne Akbar, Professor of Immunology, UCL Division of Infection and Immunity, UCL; and President, British Society of Immunology
  • Professor Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine, Imperial College London; and Honorary Physician, Department of Respiratory Medicine, St Mary's Hospital
  • Professor Ultan Power, Professor of Molecular Virology, Queen's University Belfast

At 11.00am

  • Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology, Jenner Institute and Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford
  • Dr Ian Gray, Head of Medical (UK & Ireland), Sanofi Pasteur
  • Professor Robin Shattock, Chair in Mucosal Infection and Immunity, Department of Infectious Disease, Imperial College London

Possible questions

  • What is our current understanding about the level of immunity covered by COVID-19 infection?
  • What is our understanding of the likely duration of immunity?
  • What is the risk that the virus will mutate in a way which affect the efficacy of the vaccines currently in development?
  • How long does vaccine development usually take, and why?
  • What vaccine approaches are currently being pursued, and why were those approaches chosen?
  • How do you establish the effectiveness of a vaccine?
  • What population-level vaccination strategies are being suggested for COVID-19, and which do you think will be most effective?

Further information