Last week, I had a sinking feeling when I read the news one of the world’s most promising vaccine trials for the coronavirus had to be temporarily halted after it hit a snag. The vaccine, developed by the Oxford University, was a frontrunner in the global race to find a safe vaccine. Oxford teamed up with the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to do large-scale testing in several countries. Oxford-AstraZeneca was in the last stage of its final phase three trial when it hit a snag. One volunteer in Britain who had taken the experimental vaccine became ill. The trial came to a screeching halt.
If you have a sinking feeling, it means you feel something bad is going to happen. I had a sinking feeling because the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was very promising, which means it was showing signs of success. When something “hits a snag” it means it encounters a problem or obstacle. The vaccine hit a snag because one of the volunteers who took it became ill. I had a sinking feeling when I read the news because the vaccine was a frontrunner, which means it was ahead of other vaccine trials and could win the race. I love travelling and had hoped for a vaccine by the end of the year so I can start travelling again.
Luckily, after the trial came to a screeching halt, Oxford restarted it over the weekend. When a driver suddenly uses his brakes to make his vehicle come to a sudden stop, it makes a loud and unpleasant noise. That is called a “screeching halt”. But the expression also means a sudden and unexpected end to something. If the Oxford vaccine caused the illness, experts will have to decide if the trial should continue. They have now decided it can safely resume. Such snags are common during vaccine trials. There are several other frontrunners in the vaccine race. I really hope one will succeed.
上星期，當我讀到一則新聞，就是其中一支最有希望的（promising）新冠肺炎疫苗試驗，在它碰壁（hit a snag）以後必須暫時叫停，我不禁心裏一沉，有種不祥的感覺（sinking feeling）。那支由牛津大學研發的疫苗，是全球力尋安全疫苗競賽中的領先者（frontrunner）。牛津與生物製藥公司阿斯利康合作，在好幾個國家做一個大型的臨牀試驗。牛津與阿斯利康是在三階段的終期臨牀試驗時碰壁（hit a snag）的。英國一位志願者接種試驗性的疫苗後有不良反應。試驗需要戛然煞停（screeching halt）。
若你有個 sinking feeling，意即你有不祥的預感。我有這樣的不祥之感（sinking feeling）是因為牛津與阿斯利康疫苗本身是非常 promising，意即它被看好，有望成功。當某事“hits a snag”，即它遭遇到困難或障礙。由於其中一位接種過疫苗的志願者發病，因此疫苗遇上了阻滯（hit a snag）。我讀到新聞時有不祥之感（sinking feeling），因為這支疫苗已是個 frontrunner，意即它領先於其他的疫苗試驗，並且有望在競賽中勝出。我喜愛旅遊，寄望在年底前有疫苗推出，那我就可以再度旅行了。
幸好，試驗在緊急煞停（came to a screeching halt）之後，牛津在周末得以重新開始試驗。當一位司機突然煞車令車輛停頓時，就會響起一下尖銳刺耳的聲音，那就叫做 screeching halt。但這個習語也指意外地突然叫停某事。若是牛津的疫苗引起該病，專家們便要決定那試驗應否繼續。但現在他們決定了，試驗可安全地恢復。這樣的阻滯（snags）在疫苗試驗階段中是很常見的。在這場疫苗競賽中，還有另外幾位領先者（frontrunners），我衷心希望有一支得以成功研發。[email protected]
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧