Geoffrey Schild, microbiologist

Geoffrey Christopher Schild, a microbiologist from Sheffield.
Geoffrey Christopher Schild, a microbiologist from Sheffield.
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Geoffrey Christopher Schild, who has died at 82, was a microbiologist who came up with the idea for a universal flu vaccine.

Born and raised in Sheffield and sent to attended High Storrs Grammar, he went on to graduate from Reading University in 1958.

Two years after later, he returned to Yorkshire to study for a PhD at Sheffield University, focusing on the common cold virus.

Fellow alumni remember that his attitude to everything was “never give up”.

It was while he was studying that Geoffrey met his wife, Tora Madland, who was then a pharmacist in Norway and a British Council scholar.

They were married in 1961, and Geoffrey’s research continued in Sheffield for another six years.

He began work at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in 1975, contributing to at least 300 scientific papers in his lifetime. One of the most important, co-written by virologist John Skehel, introduced a new system for classifying the thousands of influenza strains in animals and humans.

The first widespread human testing of a universal vaccine has started this winter, in a trial aiming to involve 500 people aged 65 and over.

Geoffrey was made a CBE in 1993 and retired in 2002.

He is survived by Tora, their three children, Oystein, Ingrid and Peter, and two grandchildren.