Hodder to publish the story behind the making of the Oxford vaccine

Hodder to publish the story behind the making of the Oxford vaccine

Hodder & Stoughton is publishing the inside story of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine written by two of the leading scientists who developed it, Professor Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green.

Sharing how the Oxford vaccine was made, Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus will be pubished on 8th July 2021 as a "major lead" title in hardback, e-book and audiobook.

In the book, Gilbert and Green will disclose "the heart-stopping moments in the eye of the storm" and "separate fact from fiction", explaining how they made a safe vaccine in record time with the eyes of the world watching.

"As we wait for vaccinations to release us from lockdown, Vaxxers will invite 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," the book's synopsis reads.

Anna Baty, senior commissioning editor, acquired UK Commonwealth rights from Rory Scarfe and Neil Blair at The Blair Partnership.

The vaccine under the microscope in the book was developed by the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and is both cheaper and easier to store and distribute than other vaccines, as it is the only approved vaccine that can be stored at fridge temperatures. The government has ordered 100 million doses of it, enough for 50 million people.

Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, has led the Oxford vaccine project since January 2020. Green, her co-author, is associate professor in chromosome dynamics at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics and head of Oxford University’s Clinical BioManufacturing Facility, who as a specialist in manufacturing vaccines for clinical trials was an integral part of the Oxford vaccine project. 

The book's authors, Professor Sarah Gilbert left and Dr Catherine Green (© John Cairns/ © James Bancroft)

"With vaccination now being rolled out, we are one step closer to bringing an end to the devastation caused by Covid-19," Gilbert said. "There was so much teamwork involved behind the scenes in the rapid, yet safe, development of this vaccine. We decided to write this book to tell our personal story, to reveal how we made this vaccine as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and how it will benefit the whole world."

Baty said: "The incredible work done by scientists and innovators is often overshadowed by fears and doubts that fill in the gaps in our knowledge. With Vaxxers we have the chance to hear directly from the people creating the vaccine so we can understand this life-saving technology that is the light at the end of the tunnel."

Scarfe added: "Agents have the great fortune to work on some amazing projects but seldom have we been part of something of such historic importance. What Sarah and Cath and their team have achieved is nothing short of heroic – it’s a great honour to be working with them and Hodder on this extraordinary book."