Richard Moxon, Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, has started a weekly blog for non-specialists about COVID-19.
The blog - MoxForum - aims to provide an informative, interesting and accessible scientific account of the current pandemic and the impact of infection in general, based on Richard’s discussions with researchers working in the field.
Richard is a retired clinical scientist who has dedicated much of his working life to research on meningitis and the development of vaccines to prevent this devastating infection. In these unprecedented times, he is keen to engage people in the scientific narrative around coronavirus through articles that clarify various aspects of the research into the virus, the risk factors we face and the impact of the Government’s COVID-19 strategy on not just the economy and society at large but also our health and wellbeing.
Richard says, “As a medical scientist, one who specialises in infectious diseases, I am struggling to come to grips with the enormity of what is happening right now. From a scientific perspective, there is so much information to process and so many unknowns. Trying to get to the heart of this complexity is a daunting challenge.”
He adds, “My blog aims to try and capture a scientific perspective that strikes a middle way between esoteric scientific articles and the over-simplified information gleaned from the media. I am in touch with so many curious and well-informed people who are eager to probe and discuss the impact of infections, most especially right now Covid-19. But infections in general still account for about half the deaths each year on our planet. For sure, something to blog about.”
Richard began the MoxForum blog back in April 2020 with a feature on vaccines and immunity. He talked about the historical background of vaccines, how viruses work, immunisation processes and the challenges that the current coronavirus presents to scientists and healthcare professionals. Since then he has also written about COVID-19 immunity and disease severity, the role that mathematical modelling has played in Government decision-making and, most recently, how we balance the risk factors associated with reopening schools.
The homepage of the blog quotes scientist Marie Curie, who said, “Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” With this pandemic due to play out for many months and possibly years to come, there is still plenty yet to be said about our understanding of the virus, the search for a vaccine and ultimately, how we will eliminate it. Richard says, “In just a few cataclysmic months, enormous progress has been made in understanding the biology of Covid-19. But as is typical of science, this progress has simply lifted the lid on what we do not know. Yet, evidence-based information is the imperative in our struggle to forge the future. Life will be different. Covid-19 has already changed so much and its future trajectory invites absolutely no grounds for complacency. I am deeply conscious of the bewilderment, confusion and fear that prevails.
In future blogs, I’ll share information on the ‘2 Metre Rule’ (what’s the science behind this?), whether we’ll become immune to Covid-19 or perhaps the clever germ will just outsmart us. I’ll try to keep tabs on progress towards new treatments or vaccines.”
Click here to read MoxForum and follow us on Twitter @JesusOxford for updates on Richard's latest articles as they're published.
For more information on this story contact Jude Eades, Communications Manager, on 07884 584609