Professor Saul Faust has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours List.
The Consultant Paediatrician at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) and Professor of Paediatric Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Southampton has played a leading role in the national COVID-19 vaccination programme.
During the pandemic, Southampton researchers and medics led and supported multiple studies that helped to determine the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for use in adults and children across the world.
One of the biggest studies, COV-BOOST, looked at the safety, immune responses and side-effects of seven vaccines when used as a third booster jab and made international headlines.
The trials were led by Prof Faust. Findings not only played a major role in shaping the UK COVID booster programme, they were also recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Southampton has been a crucial part of the nationwide pandemic response, delivering the highest number of COVID-19 studies across all acute NHS trusts. It has also been seen as a global leader that regularly appeared in international pandemic media coverage.
Prof Faust has been involved in wider studies including a needle-free vaccine for COVID-19 variants. Most recently, the latest COV-BOOST results have shown that a fourth dose of UK-approved vaccines give a strong immunity boost.
Prof Faust is Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, an extensive, dedicated space for early-stage clinical research in the heart of UHS. He is Clinical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Wessex and a co-lead for Microbiology, Immunology and Infection in the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre.
Prof Faust said: “I am deeply humbled and grateful to be recognised in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours. Although this award is to me, I couldn’t have done any of my work during the pandemic without the amazing research teams across Southampton, Dorset, Hampshire, South Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight. And of course, nothing would have been possible without the public coming forward to take part in the vaccine trials that are still continuing today.”
‘Richly deserved honour’
Prior to joining the UHS in 2006, he completed clinical research training as MRC clinical research fellow and clinical lecturer at Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus.
David French, chief executive officer at University Hospital Southampton, said: “I know I speak for everyone in the UHS family in congratulating Saul Faust on receiving this most richly deserved honour.
“Saul has been a supremely authoritative, clear and calm voice, trusted by the Government in helping to unlock the science and play a leading role in the development of a vaccine.
“The research led by Saul, and his team here at University Hospital Southampton, has helped shaped not only the UK’s, but the world’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are all very proud that his efforts have been recognised in this special way.”
Expanding clinical research
The NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility based at UHS was recently awarded £10m to grow its capacity over the next five years, building on its position as one of the leading centres for research delivery in the country.
Dr Karen Underwood, Director of Research & Development (R&D) at UHS, said: “I am delighted that Saul has been recognised with this national honour. Saul’s knowledge, expertise and commitment has been truly outstanding throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“His leadership has been instrumental to building understanding, treatment and prevention of the virus. Under his vision, I am confident that our NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility will continue to expand the city’s participation in ground-breaking studies that improve patient care. Many congratulations Saul.”
Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive Officer at NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: "On behalf of everyone at the NIHR, I'd like to thank Saul for his dedication and commitment when it comes to his role within vital COVID-19 vaccine research.
“Throughout the pandemic, he has worked tirelessly to lead, support and deliver trials of vaccines, which are now saving lives around the world. He has been Chief Investigator for several major studies including the NIHR-funded COV-BOOST trial, which delivered world-leading research on the safety, immune responses and side-effects of booster vaccinations in mix and match schedules.
“We are delighted he has been recognised with this honour today."