Expert in infectious diseases to call for research improvements during epidemics

The research response to epidemics has been slow and our attitude to carrying out research in the midst of infectious disease outbreaks needs to change, an expert in infectious diseases will argue at a lecture on 18 November.

Our College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology will host Dr Jeremy Farrar (pictured), Director of the Wellcome Trust, at its biennial Frank May Clinical Sciences Lecture. His talk on ‘Health research in the context of rapidly emerging public health threats’ will take place at 5.30pm in the Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre, Henry Wellcome Building, and is free and open to the public.

A key lesson from a series of epidemics of regional and global public health importance over the last decade has been that mounting critical health research in the context of epidemics is extremely challenging and invariably delayed. The research response has been cumbersome and slow despite years of preparations for a potentially devastating influenza pandemic of avian origin or the next SARS-like outbreak.

Dr Farrar said: “The failure to have coordinated, comparable data on public health interventions, clinical management and pathogenesis during epidemics means that we miss opportunities to define optimal interventions, treatment and vaccines and hence save lives."

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