For years scientists have been on the lookout for disease X: a deadly new virus that could trigger a devastating pandemic. With the drama of a scientific thriller, this documentary reveals how coronavirus spread unstoppably from a handful of mysterious pneumonia cases late last year, through the eyes of key scientists on the pandemic frontline. Personal diaries, recorded by scientists and intensive care doctors as the virus plunges the world into crisis, take us inside the race to identify the virus and try to unlock the secrets of its virulence, revealing how scientists came to realise the seriousness of the disease. With extraordinary access to behavioural scientists and pandemic modellers advising the government, the programme reveals what scientists thought, including when sporting events like the Cheltenham Gold Cup went ahead as coronavirus spread in the UK. The film reveals the emotional reaction of scientists to rising deaths as Britain attempted to flatten the curve in lockdown. Unique diary-like interviews take us inside the Oxford University vaccine project. Racing to develop a vaccine, leading scientist Professor Sarah Gilbert discusses the pressures she faces and her hopes that they can develop a vaccine and prevent millions of potential deaths as the virus continues to circulate.
Race Against The Virus: The Hunt For A Vaccine – Tuesday 11pm on Channel 4