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This month, the combined forces of VocSoc, MedSoc and the Law Society met to hear from Dr Dev Kumar, a lawyer and doctor whose company is conducting trials on COVID-19.

With recent press coverage and widespread speculation on the potential of scientific trials to develop a vaccine, it was fascinating to hear from someone working on the front line. We learnt about the most up-to-date science on the virus, and heard about the many complications of tackling COVID-19.

Dr Kumar explained that this disease causes the overproduction of IL-6, which can lead to an acute severe systemic inflammatory response known as a ‘cytokine storm’. This can be life-threatening as IL-6, which in small numbers in crucial to your body’s immune response, actually starts harming your own cells.

The virtual audience posed some intriguing questions, including one on the laws and regulations surrounding distribution of the vaccine. Dr Kumar highlighted the politics of co-operation between countries who share the collective goal of fighting this disease, yet still operate with an underlying sense of competition. Dr Kumar expects vaccine regulations to be developed soon, building on the gradual re-opening of laboratories and factories for mass production of a potential vaccine.

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