Bumbling Scientist Drops Only COVID-19 Vaccine In World
He almost cursed when it happened.
“Oopsie!” said Dr. Randy Lamson, the head of Vaccine Development at Gilead Sciences. His lab, backed by a surge in federal funding, had developed a single working sample of a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — and he’d just dropped it. As he watched the liquid spread across the lab’s floor, he knew the research would have to start over.
One of the most sought-after virologists in the world, Dr. Lamson was tasked with transferring the sample from a small fridge to a freezer late Tuesday evening. Security footage shows that shortly before midnight, he tripped on his own left foot, flailed cartoonishly for a moment in the air and landed with a crash in a pile of beakers and test tubes. The sealed container in his hand fell to the floor and shattered. The vaccine was not salvageable.
“Everyone agrees it’s definitely a bummer,” says Dr. Rose Vierra, a colleague who witnessed the mishap. She shrugs. “No biggie. That’s just Randy being Randy.”
The vaccine, codenamed MIRACALE1, had secretly completed Phase III human trials in May and was due to hit shelves tomorrow. “[The vaccine] completely arrested the development of symptoms in those with the disease and made further contagion all but impossible, but to be fair everybody knows Randy is a total classic butter-fingers,” said the lab in a statement.
Thanks to funding from the government’s “Operation Warp Speed” project, the vaccine’s development was roughly ten times faster than it would have been under normal circumstances.
Development will soon begin again. Dr. Lamson, who will continue to lead the team, “totally promises” not to drop anything this time.
“We didn’t take any notes or save any data, either,” says Lamson. He laughs. “Didn’t want to jinx it.”