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The Long Shot


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How Covid-19 vaccines went from the laboratory to people’s arms – the inside story of an extraordinary national campaign against all odds

About the Author

Dame Kate Bingham served as the Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, steering a team of experts to deliver the world’s fastest Covid-19 vaccination programme. She is a Managing Partner at SV Health Investors, where she co-leads SV’s biotech franchise. SV’s investments have resulted in the launch of twenty drugs for inflammatory and autoimmune disease, blindness and cancer. Kate is a board member of the Francis Crick Institute and helped launch the Dementia Discovery Fund – the largest fund ever to develop treatments for the disease.


'Bingham and Hames’s accessible, edge-of-the-seat account of how British innovators vaccinated the UK and much of the rest of the world is also a quiet, compelling, non-partisan argument for dialogue between business and politics.'

'Fast-paced and very compelling… The Vaccine Taskforce will always be remembered as British science at its very best.'
*Sir Jonathan Symonds, Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline*

'The Long Shot is a book about procurement — not normally a subject for a gripping tale. Yet in this case we are dealing with the most successful procurement exercise of our times. And luckily, Bingham delivers on her punchy promise in the prologue to "tell it like it is". As an outsider rooted in business, she offers strong and specific recommendations for transforming government. Most deliciously, she names names.'
*Financial Times*

'Written with compelling verve and complete authority, this book describes how Kate Bingham ensured that Covid-19 vaccines would be made available to the UK. But the book does more than that. It also demonstrates how science and the effective application of science are critical to solving the world’s problems, and that these solutions will only be delivered with a razor-sharp focus on outcomes rather than on following procedures.'
*Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize laureate*

'Frank and fascinating.'

'Kate Bingham’s new book, The Long Shot, is a gripping account of the UK Government Vaccine Task Force’s response to the pandemic by a remarkable, determined, thoughtful, and practical individual who was at the heart of the critical decisions that had to be made. I spoke with her frequently through 2020 as we battled logistical headwinds and the media storms in development of the Oxford vaccine and was always better for our chats, absorbing the positive energy that she emanates and benefiting from her wisdom. Her clarity of thought and action in a such a dark and turbulent time is a seam running through the book, and I know for certain that her efforts saved many lives. But I have to disagree with the title, because the book shows that it really wasn’t such a "long shot" with Kate at the helm.'
*Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford*

‘A blueprint of how industry, academia and government can work together to address a question of global importance, with lessons for other future crises.’
*John Tregoning, author of Infectious*

'An excellent read… Capturing the exceptional pace and energy of everyone involved in discovering and producing effective therapies against Covid-19. All in all, this is a book I will treasure.'
*Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca*

'Essential reading for anyone seeking to learn the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic.’
*Matthew Partridge, Money Week*

‘An incisive behind-the-scenes look at the challenges Bingham faced in her role… The authors combine a lucid explanation of the scientific breakthroughs needed to create the first Covid vaccine with an insider look at the politics that hampered the taskforce’s efforts. The result is a valuable addition to the literature documenting the crisis.’
*Publishers Weekly*

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