Prince William ventured out to visit an Oxford University coronavirus vaccine lab – becoming the first British royal to be seen wearing a face mask amid the pandemic, according to a report.
Wearing a mask and googles, the Duke of Cambridge met “guinea pigs” testing the vaccine on Wednesday and told researchers that their work was “incredibly exciting” and “fascinating,” The Sun reported.
During the tour of Oxford’s Churchill Hospital, William met trial leader Professor Sarah Gilbert and Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the vaccine group, as well as volunteers.
“Were you a willing volunteer?” the prince asked one woman and then asked a man if he was “nervous,” according to the news outlet.
“You’re in good hands, I’m sure,” he told them both.
The British government has provided 84 million pounds – about $104 million — for the University of Oxford to develop and manufacture a vaccine, which about 300 people will receive as part of the trial, The Sun reported.
The government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, described the Oxford study as “probably” the “most advanced” in the world.
William said that if it was announced that the Oxford team had “cracked it,” people would “breathe a huge sigh of relief.”
“People want there to be some sort of finality to it,” he added.
William later told staff he had always been “interested in medical science.”
“It’s the most incredibly exciting and very welcome project that you’re all doing, which is why it’s fascinating,” he said.
Oxford has agreed to a global licensing agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has also struck deals with the US and the European Union to produce and supply the potential vaccine.
With Post wires
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