Funding boost for Network tackling infectious diseases

An international network hosted at Imperial has been awarded additional funding to improve vaccines for infectious diseases.

The Human Immune Challenge Vaccine (HIC-Vac) Network , based at St Mary’s campus, will receive an additional 600,000 from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The network, which is supported by funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), uses volunteer-infection studies as part of a larger effort to improve treatments to fight infectious diseases around the world.

This extra investment will help us support more of the excellent research that’s happening in the UK and around the world Professor Peter Openshaw Director of the HIC-Vac Network

During the research, healthy volunteers are intentionally infected with microbes - such as the flu virus - under controlled conditions.

Researchers then study volunteers to learn more about how the immune system responds to the threats, how the diseases spread and whether treatments are effective.

The latest funding boost will bring the total funding to 3,099,840, with the network expected to run until 2021.

Some of the funding is expected to be used for early stage vaccine development, as well as supporting research communities to work together to address bottlenecks in the research and development of new vaccines.

Professor Peter Openshaw, Director of the HIC-Vac Network, said: “This extra investment will help us support more of the excellent research that’s happening in the UK and around the world, building our knowledge of infections and how to prevent and treat them.

“Bringing research and industry together is vital for ensuring that scientific knowledge is translated into new and better vaccines for widespread use.”

HIC-Vac is part of a larger government initiative, the Global Challenges Research Fund , a government initiative to make sure UK research takes a leading role in addressing the problems faced by developing countries.

Full details are available via the HIC-Vac website.

Image: Flickr / Sanofi Pasteur