Scottish universities create £4.3 million centre to fight AI

04-06-2007 | |

A £4.3 million ($8.5 million; €6.3 million) research hub based at the University of Edinburgh is to be at the forefront of global efforts in the prevention of an avian flu pandemic.

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Human and Avian Influenza Research (ICHAIR) draws together experts from the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews who will aim to develop new therapeutic agents to combat bird flu. Leading biologists, virologists and epidemiologists will also work together on new treatments for human flu.
The Centre, which has received £2 million ($4 million; €3 million) from the Scottish Funding Council and £2.3 million ($4.6 million; €3.4 million) from the collaborating universities, will officially open on 1 September 2007.
Three areas of research
• Mathematical modelling – scientists will use supercomputers to predict changes in the virulence of the virus and to create models of outbreak scenarios.
• Pathogenesis – experts will carry out research into the causes of the disease and the underlying factors that lead to its spread.
• Infection control – researchers will develop a range of ‘novel’ anti-virals (which can block virus replication) and construct a new generation of flu vaccines.
The Centre’s director, Professor Tony Nash of the Centre for Infectious Diseases at the University, is an expert in the immune system’s response to viral infections, who says that the ultimate hope is that new ways of predicting and controlling major flu outbreaks will be achieved, as well as discovering new therapies that quickly translate into products for humans and animals.
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