The Pandemic Institute has awarded nearly £500,000 to Liverpool researchers to help tackle the growing threat of monkeypox.
The virus infection is usually found in West and Central Africa, but an increasing number of cases have been identified elsewhere, including the UK (amounting to 2,208 confirmed cases as of July 21, 2022) and l The World Health Organization (WHO) has now classified the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern – putting monkeypox on par with diseases such as Covid-19, Ebola and poliomyelitis.
Funded projects include research into the origins of the epidemic in Africa, studies of transmission and spread, development of rapid diagnostics, study of the body’s immune response to aid in vaccine development, studies on new drug treatments and understanding the stigma around the disease.
Professor Tom Solomon CBE, Chair of Neurology at the University of Liverpool and Director of the Pandemic Institute as well as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit on Emerging Infections and zoonotics, said: “We are currently facing an unprecedented situation. monkeypox outbreak in the UK and beyond. It is important for us to respond quickly to this emerging threat. In just a few weeks, The Pandemic Institute has identified, through a peer-review process, eleven high-priority projects to address this new threat and respond to the G7 challenge to produce diagnostics, treatments and vaccines in 100 days following a major emerging infection. This monkeypox funding appeal has a total budget of £484,257 and covers all the principles of the TPI domain to ‘predict, prevent, prepare, respond and recover’ against emerging infection threats. »
The new projects all include at least two of the Pandemic Institute’s seven founding partners (University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Knowledge Quarter (KQ) Liverpool and Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) as well as a policy project in partnership with the World Health Organization. The project leaders are Dr Ana Karina Pitol Garcia, Prof Calum Semple, Dr Susan Gould, Prof Matthew Baylis, Dr Krishanthi Subramaniam and Dr Lance Turtle, Dr Emily Rebecca Adams, Prof Saye Khoo, Dr Rachel Byrne, Dr Tom Fletcher, James Woolgar and Dr Mark Forshaw.
One of the winners, Dr Ana Karina Pitol García, a research associate microbiologist at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, whose project examines contact transmission of monkeypox virus, said: “The monkeypox virus monkey is most often transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact. However, the virus can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated objects such as clothing and linens. We are studying how long the virus survives on skin and different materials, and how much is transferred through these pathways. This information is crucial to help control the spread of the disease.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO, said at a press conference on the WHO statement on monkeypox: “We have an epidemic that has spread rapidly around the world thanks to many new modes of transmission that we understand too little and that meet the criteria of international health regulations.For all these reasons, I have decided that the global outbreak of monkeypox represents a global health emergency of international concern.
The mission of the Pandemic Institute is to accelerate the response to emerging infection threats, unify global intelligence, and increase the reach and impact of research in this area. Through its founding partners, the Institute has an impressive range of world-class clinical, academic, public health and data-driven expertise. The combined networks of UK partners and collaborators around the world provide a unique opportunity for The Pandemic Institute to maximize its global reach and impact science and technology, business and economics, and communities. national and international policies.