Red tape is hampering scientists from developing groundbreaking GM vaccines, it is claimed. Adrian Hill, of Oxford University, said that this was holding back research. “Because the vaccine is technically a GM organism, if we’re going to vaccinate someone in our clinic we need special permission, not to protect the person from the dangers of the vaccine but to protect from the potential risks of that microbe getting out and contaminating the environment,” he said. This was despite the fact, he added, that it would not survive.
Oxford spin out company Vaccitech has launched today with £10m seed investment to develop a universal flu vaccine already showing promise in clinical trials. Vaccitech has raised £10m from investment company Oxford Sciences Innovation to take a number of vaccines through clinical trials. Vaccitech’s lead product is a “universal” flu vaccine which would work against all varieties of the virus. “We’ve targeted two proteins inside the virus which do not change, even as the virus mutates the proteins on its surface,” explains Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute. Vaccitech is also working on vaccines to fight cancer by turning the immune system against the disease.
The Financial Times: Oxford biotech deals highlight stature of UK university spinouts.
In 2014/2015, 39 women scientists working mainly in the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford were interviewed with the aim of providing support to women making career decisions, by offering them the opportunity to explore a broad range of experiences shared by other women through video interviews. The women talked about many issues, including the culture of science, publishing, obtaining fellowship funding, having a mentor and Athena SWAN. Four Jenner Investigators were among those interviewed, Helen McShane, Ellie Barnes, Lucy Dorrell and Seph Borrow.
On 25th April, a group of leading research networks and groups in Oxford presented to the public their latest work to combat malaria. Philippe Guérin (WWARN) presented alongside Dominic Kwiatkowski (MalariaGen), Katherine Battle (Malaria Atlas Project), Nick White (MORU) and Sumi Biswas (Jenner Institute), discussing their innovative research and multi-disciplinary collaborations in malaria.
The 24 – 30 April is World Immunisation Week with the focus of this year’s WHO campaign is “Close the immunisation gap”. NDM and Paediatrics spoke to Professor Calman MacLennan, Professor of Vaccine Immunology (University of Birmingham) and Jenner Investigator (Oxford), and Dr Manish Sadarangani Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology at The Children’s Hospital, Oxford about vaccinations and how we can “close the gap” and get more people vaccinated to prevent deadly diseases.
Prof Helen McShane and her team at the Jenner Institute, have made a discovery that could improve our chances of developing an effective vaccine against Tuberculosis.
The researchers have identified new biomarkers for Tuberculosis (TB) which have shown for the first time why immunity from the widely used Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is so variable. The biomarkers will also provide valuable clues to assess whether potential new vaccines could be effective.
Although the Zika virus and other public health threats might seem more pressing, the world cannot ease up on efforts to maximize development of Ebola vaccines and prepare for the next outbreak, according to an expert panel in a report published today, "Plotting the Course of Ebola Vaccines". The report is produced by a team which was assembled in November 2014 by the Wellcome Trust and the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota as the Ebola outbreak heated up in West Africa.
Three University of Oxford teams are to begin research projects focussed on Zika after the UK government announced a series of grants to tackle the disease. Since its outbreak in Brazil last year, the Zika virus has continued to spread, primarily across the Americas. Dr George Warimwe, Jenner Institute, will study the transmission and case burden of Zika in an area of East Africa, providing vital information on how the disease spreads.
On 14 March, Mr Darren Nash, Associate Head of Department (Academic Support & Finance), Professor Arturo Reyes-Sandoval, Dr Cesar López-Camacho and Dr Gilberto Estrada Harris welcomed a distinguished group of guests from the British Embassy in Mexico coming with a delegation of Mexican journalists from different media outlets on a tour exploring UK’s science, technology and innovation, education, business and sustainability.
A podcast is now available of this year's Oxford London Lecture, a lecture series which aims to connect the widest possible audience to some of Oxford's ground-breaking research. The lecture was given by Director of the Jenner Institute, Prof Adrian Hill, on the topic "Vaccines for Ebola: tackling a market failure", followed by a panel discussion chaired by The Times columnist, Alice Thompson.
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