Leeds alumnus works on developing COVID-19 vaccine

University of Leeds alumnus, Luke Cunliffe, now works as a Clinical Scientist for Pfizer and is proud to be working on their COVID-19 vaccination programme.

BSc Pharmacology graduate, Luke Cunliffe, has played an important role in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination programme through analysing and generating data during the clinical trials. While working from home during lockdown, Luke was able to analyse and interpret data that was vital in the testing and trial process of the vaccine's development. He said:

“As a Clinical Scientist, I was involved in analysing the large volumes of data gathered from the participants enrolled on the COVID-19 clinical trial programme. I was assigned to many trial sites across the world and received the data as the individuals underwent numerous tests and observations, as per the study protocol. In fact, I was privileged to be one of the first people in the world to see that data from early vaccination trials in the U.S.”

Luke studied BSc Pharmacology and completed an industrial placement year at Pfizer in their Regulatory Operations team. Following his graduation, he returned to Pfizer, initially in Regulatory Affairs, and then went on to join Vaccine Clinical Research & Development, when Pfizer announced its 5-point plan to tackle COVID-19 and the vaccine programme began. Luke discussed his graduate career and the impact of working on the vaccine programme:

“I am incredibly honoured to have the opportunity to work on the COVID-19 vaccine programme. Hearing that the Pfizer vaccine was the first to receive temporary use authorisation was a very exciting moment, a definite career highlight. Seeing the name of the company you work for all over the news was great and it was amazing to help bring new positivity and hope to so many people, close family and friends included. However, the trial is ongoing, so I was aware that the work has to continue. The temporary authorisation is a great step, but it is not the end of the journey for the scientists at Pfizer.”

As well as working for Pfizer Luke is also currently undertaking a Masters degree at Imperial College London in Public Health.