Thread: Am I the only person puzzled by what @MattHancock's ‘we're throwing everything at’ #COVID19 vaccine development line actually means? It's a vague phrase anyway but when we look a little more closely...
Volunteer recruitment for the Oxford clinical trial has been underway for a month, with funding partners (including the UK government but also many other sources) already announced - so, plenty has already been thrown at it
Two more Hancock comments are also bemusing. First, that progress so far is 'promising'. By definition if there was no chance of the vaccines working they wouldn't be entering human trials
Beyond that, there can be no evidential basis for calling the Oxford vaccine 'promising', as it hasn't been trialled - and as the Imperial vaccine is a few months away from entering human efficacy trials, there's even less of a case
Second, there would be a 'huge upside' to UK developing a vaccine first, the man said. Why?
Would Britons have preferential access? Perhaps a few select groups, but on a big scale it's obviously both unworkable and unconscionable when you think about it for more than five secs. For one thing both the Oxford & Imperial groups are in international consortia
Plus some funding comes from @CEPIvaccines which is committed to universal access So there is not the remotest chance of Britons en masse getting preferential access to a vaccine just because it's developed in Britain
Would it make the UK money? Hardly: IP would be co-owned by UK universities but again anyone believing a #COVID19 vaccine would be sold for top dollar under patent isn't thinking straight
Reality is that the first vaccine that is shown to work and can be quickly manufactured at scale will be made in many locations and rolled out in every nation - irrespective of where it is initially developed. So: what, precisely, is the 'huge upside'?
From govt's PoV, the very obvious upside to this 'story' was all these lines found their way, pretty much unquestioned, into leading coverage from UK news organisations just as govt's record on #COVID19 provisions was prob under more scrutiny than on any day since crisis began
Of course, govt's decision to hold its main on-the-record and on-video news conference every day at 5pm is tactically smart, massively increasing the chances of its chosen line leading the evening news programmes. But... broadcasters, you know this!
This isn't a snipe at anyone in particular btw. It's just crucial especially in this period that govt statements are properly scrutinised, thought about and – if they're meaningless or worse – not automatically put top of the news bulletin. Holding to account - still the core job
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