Coronavirus: Dr Elisa Granato, Europe's first vaccine trial volunteer
The Italian zoologist and microbiologist received her first injection on Thursday - before having to deny rumours of her death in the days that followed.
Italian Dr Elisa Granato last week became one of the first two people in Europe to take part in a coronavirus vaccine trial, after beginning her involvement in human tests on a drug being developed by Oxford University and IRBM Science Park.
Granato: “I wanted to try to support the scientific process”
The 32-year-old zoologist and microbiologist received her first injection on Thursday, a moment which was caught on camera by the BBC.
Speaking to the UK broadcaster, Granato - who was the first to be injected - said: "I'm a scientist, so I wanted to try to support the scientific process wherever I can."
Sarah Gilbert, a vaccinology professor at Oxford’s Jenner Institute who headed up the pre-clinical research into the medication, told the BBC: "Personally I have a high degree of confidence in this vaccine.”
“I’m doing fine” - Granato scotches death rumours
In the days after starting the trial, Granato was forced to deny rumours of her death after an article appeared online falsely claiming that she had died as a result of complications from the vaccine.
“Nothing like waking up to a fake article on your death,” she wrote on her Twitter account this weekend. “I’m doing fine everyone.”
Support from Bill Gates
If the vaccine does prove to be effective, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has indicated that he is willing to help bear the cost of its mass-production through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates, who in 2015 was already warning of the dangers posed to the world by a viral pandemic, has said in a blog post on his website, Gates Notes, that the situation we are currently in “is like a world war, except in this case, we’re all on the same side”.