Copyright: PA Media
Oxford vaccine lead researcher Prof Sarah Gilbert says that current coronavirus vaccines might need “tweaking” to deal with variants.
She told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “A lot of the changes in the different variants coming from different parts of the world are actually the same. So, we are not seeing the virus mutating away in lots of different directions, which would make it harder to keep up with.”
Prof Gilbert also stressed it was important to make sure the whole world was protected so that the virus could be suppressed.
“It’s no good just to protect our country and have lots of infections going on in other parts of the world,” she said, adding this could lead to new mutations.
“We need to make sure that when vaccines are being manufactured, they meet the same standards,” she added.
On the subject of whether everyone would have to be vaccinated every year, she said she didn’t think this would be necessary.
Instead, it might be that those at highest risk – like elderly people – are vaccinated each year.
Prof Gilbert was speaking after receiving the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) Albert Medal. She said it was a “great honour”.
Previous winners include Winston Churchill, Marie Curie, Alexander Graham Bell, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee.