COVID-19 is a disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, in December 2019, after a cluster of patients with pneumonia of unknown cause were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020, and the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 was officially named COVID-19 on 11 February 2020. After assessing the outbreak and following transmission of the virus in many other countries worldwide, on 11 March 2020 the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This means that the disease has spread worldwide, and it is the first time that a coronavirus has led to a pandemic.
Scientists around the world are working hard to develop a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but there is a lot to be done. A team in Oxford led by Prof. Sarah Gilbert, Prof. Andrew Pollard, Prof. Teresa Lambe, Dr Sandy Douglas and Prof. Adrian Hill started work designing a vaccine on Saturday 10 January 2020. The current status is that they have identified a vaccine candidate and are working towards the first clinical testing phase.