Leading UK research funders today announce 7.5 million of funding for a series of projects aimed at understanding the development and spread of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 or 'swine flu'. The research will look at every aspect of the virus, on pig farms, in pig and human populations, and in hospital intensive care units.
The first cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 were reported in Mexico in March this year. In June, as the number of cases increased, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the spread was now a 'phase 6' pandemic, meaning that the virus had spread globally. So far, over 440,000 people have been confirmed to have been infected worldwide, with 5,700 deaths reported to WHO*.
In May and June, the UK's leading biomedical and animal health research funders the Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) together with the Department of Health and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), brought together leading clinical and veterinary researchers to catalyse action and a coordinated response from the research community.
Today, the outcome of those meetings is announced: a series of research projects, including four major collaborations focusing on areas such as the role of pig-pig and pig-human interactions in the development and spread of pandemic H1N1; flu transmission within households in England; and a study of hospitalised cases of severe infection. They involve leading researchers from the UK, including scientists, clinicians and veterinary researchers from Imperial College London, UCL (University College London), the University of Cambridge and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency.
The studies aim to understand how the virus mutates and jumps the species barrier and how it spreads through communities; how the virus causes disease in both pigs and humans and why it affects some individuals more than oth
|Contact: Craig Brierley|