The Duke of Cambridge described the work as “fascinating” on a visit in which he revealed that he had always been interested in the field of medical science. The visit took place at the Oxford Vaccine Group facilities at Churchill Hospital, Oxford, where human trials are currently being conducted in a study at the University of Oxford.
The duke met some of the human volunteers who participated, described as “guinea pigs”.
Speaking to a woman who had volunteered to participate in the study, the duke asked, “Were you a willing guinea pig?”
Across the UK, more than 4,000 human participants are believed to be enrolled in trials with another 10,000 planned.
This is so that scientists can test the vaccine, formally known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.
The duke observed research by vaccine scientists.
Prince William wore various items of personal protective equipment (PPE) for most of his visit, including a mask, a protective cape, and goggles.
He is the first member of the Royal Family to do this since the Firm began to embark on public visits again this month, and real fans quickly caught on.
A fan posted: “A respectful man who wears his mask!
“This is what you do when you are in a leadership role.”
READ: The surprising activity that the duke has undertaken in the running of the bulls
Prince William said he had always had an interest in medical science during the visit.
In addition to meeting with human volunteers, the duke also met with Professor Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the trial, and Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the vaccine group.
Trials are also underway in South Africa and Brazil, and a vaccine is expected to be ready as early as this year.
During his visit, Prince William said that if the Oxford team “broke it”, people “would breathe great relief.”
Before the visit was made, the duke had met with other researchers as part of a video call with Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, and the vice chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Louise Richardson.
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The duke also visited ambulance personnel at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust this month.
The duke told them that he thought the work they were doing was “fascinating”.
Professor Richardson later commented that Prince William’s visit had been a “real shot in the arm” for the investigators involved.
Researchers have generally proceeded relatively quickly to human trials because of the urgency of the vaccine, according to Cruelty Free International, something the charity has praised.
The term ‘guinea pig’ as a reference for test subjects comes from the fact that real guinea pigs have historically been widely used in the field of medical research as test subjects for scientific research.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are being locked up at their Norfolk home.
The RSPCA states that around 5,000,000 live animals, including dogs, monkeys, rodents, rabbits, fish and chickens, are used each year in medical research in the EU and the UK.
Monkeys and pigs have so far been used by Oxford researchers in their research to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, Prince William visited paramedics last week at King’s Lynn Ambulance Station at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Norfolk.
While there, he thanked the ambulance teams for their work in reacting to the Covid-19 outbreak in what was his first real face-to-face engagement in months.
Speakers COVID-19 vaccines:
The Duke of Cambridge visited the Oxford Vaccine Group today to learn about the progress made in protecting people from the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/zhlDsgIcAa
– The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) June 24, 2020
Hello! The magazine reported that the duke had to pass a Covid-19 temperature test and wash his hands before the meeting.
He told staff that he was “fighting the urge to shake hands.”
The Duke is a former East Anglian air ambulance pilot and, together with the Duchess of Cambridge, has launched the Our Frontline initiative to provide mental health support to frontline and key workers.
Before leaving the ambulance station, he thanked the paramedics for their “sacrifices” and hard work. Hello! add.