UK launches new research center to tackle monkeypox | science and technology news


A new UK research consortium is being set up to tackle the country’s unprecedented monkeypox outbreak.

Nations not used to dealing with the virus were forced to respond this year as thousands of infections were reported around the world, far beyond where it is normally found in parts of Africa.

The United Kingdom had reported nearly 3,500 cases as of last monthas the numbers fell from the sharp and sudden increases seen in the early summer months.

In early October, one of the country’s leading infectious disease experts, Professor Neil Ferguson, said behavioral changes and vaccination had helped lead to a “very positive” situation.

The UK is now looking to keep abreast of the progress of the disease, with leading researchers and scientists from a dozen institutions coming together for the new consortium.

Their goal will be to develop better diagnostic tests, including lateral flows like those used during the COVID pandemic, and to identify potential therapies and study the effectiveness of the smallpox vaccine against the virus.

The consortium will work closely with experts from government agencies to study the existing outbreak and inform the national and international public health response.

It will be run by the Pirbright Institute and the MRC-University of Glasgow Virus Research Centre, with £2 million in funding provided by the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council.

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