UK to host centre to lead future pandemic fight

A global centre to act as the focus in the fight against future pandemics is to be created in Liverpool.

The Pandemic Institute is a medical, academic and civic partnership between the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Knowledge Quarter (KQ) Liverpool.

The team behind the scheme said the Pandemic Institute will offer world-leading clinical and research expertise across all stages of the pandemic lifecycle. It will have global reach, working across the world to deliver new science and build preparedness for future pandemics. The outputs of its work will be rapidly translated into tangible policy, solutions and activity, ensuring real world impact for governments, businesses and individuals across the globe.

The overall aim is to accelerate the global response to pandemics, unify global intelligence and increase the reach and impact of pandemic research.

Professor Matthew Baylis, Director of the Pandemic Institute, said: “The Pandemic Institute has the potential to help revolutionise how the world responds to pandemics.

“Uniquely, it will take a holistic view, from looking at future threats through to the response of communities and the healthcare system as well as treatments such as medicines and vaccines.

“Liverpool is perfectly placed to be the home for the Pandemic Institute – building on the foundations laid so far in the city, and its significant contributions in this field, Liverpool is a global city with expertise in many fields relevant to pandemics, including medical, tropical and veterinary research.

“We appreciate Innova’s support of the Pandemic Institute and recognise the impact and significance of their generous gift for the city of Liverpool and wider global community.”

In a statement the institute said in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Liverpool has pioneered innovative approaches including a whole city community testing pilot which cut transmission rates by a fifth, as well as hosting large-scale pilot events on behalf of the Government that provided evidence of how to safely reopen important sectors of the economy – developing Liverpool’s reputation as a leader in pandemic management and resilience.

Initially funded by a £10 million gift from Innova Medical Group, the world’s largest provider of rapid antigen tests.

Daniel Elliott, CEO and President of Innova Medical Group, said: “Innova is committed to improving pandemic outcomes globally and we were attracted to Liverpool after being impressed by the unparalleled amount of large-scale pilot research programmes and the guidance on global public health policy that Liverpool provided during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are passionate about supporting organisations that will make a difference and it is clear now that pandemics are the biggest threat to the health of the world’s population, and that is why we are excited to support Liverpool’s partners with the Pandemic Institute, which has the potential to save lives and improve health outcomes for communities across the globe.”

The institute has outlined a range of targets for its first year in operation.

It will set up a series of public health intelligence labs set up. It aims for greater expansion and further development of on continent teams including in South East Asia, Africa and South America

There will be physical space for open innovation in pathogen genomics operational, with expanded clinical trial capacity building on the Agile model, with in-field genomic sequencing in final stages of testing and development.

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