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  • Hodder & Stoughton
  • Hodder & Stoughton

Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus

Sarah Gilbert, Catherine Green

9 Reviews

Rated 0

Popular science

The inside story of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, from two of the leading scientists who created it.


*Chosen as a Book of the Year by the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Prospect, Guardian and The Times* This is the story of a race - not against other vaccines or other scientists, but against a deadly and devastating virus.

On 1 January 2020, Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University, read an article about four people in China with a strange pneumonia. Within two weeks, she and her team had designed a vaccine against a pathogen that no one had ever seen before. Less than 12 months later, vaccination was rolled out across the world to save millions of lives from Covid-19.

In Vaxxers, we hear directly from Professor Gilbert and her colleague Dr Catherine Green as they reveal the inside story of making the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and the cutting-edge science and sheer hard work behind it.

This is their story of fighting a pandemic as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Sarah and Cath share the heart-stopping moments in the eye of the storm; they separate fact from fiction; they explain how they made a highly effective vaccine in record time with the eyes of the world watching; and they give us hope for the future.

Vaxxers invites us into the lab to find out how science will save us from this pandemic, and how we can prepare for the inevitable next one.

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Praise for Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus

  • This book is a profound success. I have read few that have given me such an immediate, eye-level view of working science - of brilliant, committed, heroic science. - Sunday Times

  • Moving and awe-inspiring... The story of the decade - Mail on Sunday

  • What an enthralling tale of toil, tenacity and triumph this is. The authors' intelligence, idealism and sheer, bloody-minded grit shine through. The world needs all the Sarah Gilberts and Catherine Greens it can get. Just brilliant.

  • Excellent and readable ... Vaccine production has never been explained more clearly... Green writes movingly about the difficult intersection between work and home life... Vaxxers is so good that the book will be read for long after the pandemic is over, as a vivid account of research in action and the way individuals respond in the face of a scientific emergency. - Financial Times

  • Vaxxers can be read as much as a manifesto for the importance of good science communication and an antidote to anti-vax conspiracy theories as a biomedical thriller. - Observer

  • Urgent and fascinating ... A tale of hard work and victory against steep odds, a unique insight into vaccines generally ... A gripping yarn ... I especially loved the book's personal moments ... I dare anyone to read this and not come away impressed. - Guardian

  • Heroes of our time ... Fired by a mission to save the world, these researchers are dedicated, altruistic, and determined that their vaccine would not only be safe and effective, but also cheap and easy to use in the poorest corners of the globe... Let's hope people who have not yet taken up the vaccine read Vaxxers and decide to have the jab. - The Lancet

  • A most accessible read... A personal story of one of the most epic moments in human history, perfectly capturing how scientific discovery on this scale is rarely a Eureka moment for a lone genius. As a grateful recipient of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, I take my hat off in thanks to these remarkable women.

  • - Irish Times

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Sarah Gilbert

Sarah Gilbert is Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute within the University of Oxford. Having devoted her career to developing vaccines against infectious diseases, since January 2020 she has been the Oxford Project Leader for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Professor Gilbert has over 25 years of experience in the design and early development of new vaccines, and a commitment to increasing public understanding of science. In 2021 she was awarded a Damehood in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

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