Prince of PPE: Masked Wills at vaccine lab
THE Duke of Cambridge yesterday met the British team leading the global race to develop a Covid vaccine.
William wore a face mask and protective gear for much of his visit to Oxford University’s Vaccine Group at the city’s Churchill Hospital.
It was the first time a royal has been seen wearing a mask during the crisis – and it brought back memories of his mother Princess Diana in one as she watched a heart operation at Harefield Hospital, west London, in 1996.
The Duke was briefed by professors Sarah Gilbert and Andrew Pollard.
Prof Gilbert said the team started trials on 7,500 human ‘guinea pigs’ when they first heard of the virus in China last year. When William asked how they were coping with the pressure they must be under, she joked: ‘We’ve had a few minor meltdowns.’
Prof Pollard highlighted HIV, a virus for which no vaccine has been found because it mutates, saying scientists’ great fear was coronavirus could be the same. In that case, he said, ‘there is nothing we could do apart from social distancing forever’ – a prospect William described as ‘frightening’.