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The exhibition, which features stories and items from University of Oxford researchers, explores the worldwide effort to develop vaccines against COVID-19 and shares the inspiring stories of scientists collaborating around the globe to save lives. Closing on 12 May, the exhibition has welcomed millions of visitors in London, India and China.

© Science Museum

The Science Museum’s free exhibition about the development of COVID-19 vaccines, funded by Wellcome and delivered in partnership with the National Council of Science Museums in India and the Guangdong Science Center in China, has reached its final few weeks. 

Launched in November 2022, the exhibition explores the challenges and triumphs of developing a COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic. 

Through interactive elements and personal objects, the exhibit also highlights the inspiring stories of scientists and innovators – including many from the University of Oxford – who collaborated around the world to find solutions and save lives. 

In a first for the Science Museum Group, Injecting Hope was opened simultaneously in India and China, alongside its London home. 

With both countries playing a pivotal role in manufacturing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines, the international tour reflects the critical role global partnerships played in responding to the pandemic. Over 1 million people in India and 1.6 million in China have visited the exhibit. 

Among the personal objects on display at the museum are items owned by PSI Investigators Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and Professor Teresa Lambe OBE, co-creators of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. 

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Sean Elias, Public Engagement with Research Lead in Professor Gilbert’s group at the Pandemic Sciences Institute, said: “The exhibition is designed to take you back to January 2020 and lead you through the key moments that shaped the response to the emerging pandemic through a selection of objects.” 

“Some of these, including items from Oxford, are on the playful side, including Professor Teresa Lambe’s ‘Bad Elf’ T-shirt, the ‘viral’ outfit of first vaccine recipient Elisa Granato, and Professor Sarah Gilbert’s ‘Keep Calm and Develop Vaccines’ mug. These items highlight how, despite the gravity of the situation, people still found a way to express themselves.”

The exhibit also includes a visual representation of the full genetic code for SARs-CoV-2, including the vaccine sequence, and maps drawn up by the British Army to chart the roll-out of vaccines across England. 

The free exhibition will continue to run in the Science Museum, London until 12 May.