Grant

MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis

Funder: Medical Research Council

Dimensions: grant.7828564

Investigators

Affiliations

Organisations

  1. (1) Imperial College London, grid.7445.2

Research Organisations

Countries

United Kingdom

Continents

Europe

Abstract

The continuing threat from new infectious diseases has been highlighted in recent years by the emergence of MERS-coronavirus in the Middle East, Ebola in West Africa and Zika in Latin America. Preparing for and responding to such threats is a priority for public health agencies and governments worldwide. Equally importantly, as scientific research delivers new approaches to controlling existing infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis and polio, there is a need to determine what interventions are likely to work best to limit the disease and illness caused by a specific disease in a particular setting. In this context, computer modelling of the spread of diseases in populations coupled with scientifically rigorous data analysis have proven themselves as powerful tools for giving insight into how diseases spread and what can be done to limit that control that spread. The Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis undertakes research on these scientific methods and applies them to disease threats of concern. A key feature of the Centre is the close links it has made with with public health agencies - such as the Public Health England, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) - organisations which have to formulate and implement strategies to control infectious diseases. Senior scientists in the Centre are world-leaders in infectious disease modelling and analysis. They have broad experience in responding to real epidemics, and undertaking epidemiological research on endemic diseases (such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis and polio). Their work directly influences disease control policy through the many interactions the Centre has with public health organisations and governments. Funding provided by MRC and Imperial College has allowed dedicated investment into the development of close collaborative partnerships with PHE, CDC and WHO and governments and research centres in many low and middle income countries (LMICs). We also work closely with other important organisations who work on improving health in LMICs (notably the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund and Gavi). With each, our collaborative research has both scientific interest to Centre researchers and contributes to the evidence base for public health decisions. Centre funding supports a core technical capacity available to all projects and pays for dedicated liaison staff who facilitate and enhance our partnerships with major global health organisations and LMICs. MRC funding has also facilitated a greater focus on collaboration, training and career development within the Centre - training the next generation of quantitative infectious disease epidemiologists. We are also involved in increasing knowledge of advanced modelling methods in public health institutions and the wider infectious disease research community, and so have run a large number of introductory short-courses and workshops (in 13 countries in the last 5 years) This applied activity depends on more fundamental research undertaken in the Centre on the transmission dynamics of different diseases, how diseases evolve genetically over time, and on analysing new approaches to control or treat diseases. This research is interdisciplinary, with Centre researchers working with leading clinical and experimental scientists around the world. Continued Centre funding will allow existing partnerships to be sustained and enhanced, and new collaborations with researchers and health agencies in LMICs to be developed. By supporting PhD training and postdoctoral career development, it will also continue to expand the UK skill base in mathematical modelling and advanced analysis applied to health problems. Last, continued MRC support will pump-prime new priority research areas, including work on improving the development of new vaccines and on tackling the global challenge posed by antimicrobial resistance. Technical Summary The continued threat posed by emerging infectious diseases has been highlighted in recent years by the emergence of MERS-coronavirus in the Middle East, Ebola in West Africa and Zika in Latin America. Preparedness therefore remains a policy priority for public health agencies and governments worldwide. In addition, as new vaccines, drugs and other interventions are developed for endemic diseases such as malaria, HIV and TB, there is a need to extrapolate from clinical trial results to determine which combination of interventions gives the optimal (or most cost-effective) control strategy for a specific disease in a particular setting. In this context, modern epidemiological modelling and analysis methods have proven themselves increasingly powerful tools for giving insight into the patterns of emergence of novel outbreaks, the transmission dynamics of endemic diseases and the options available for the control of both. The Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis is a world leader in research in this area, and in translating our research into improved public-health decision-making. Since it was founded, MRC funding has supported this translation by facilitating the forging of close partnerships with all major global health organisations (e.g. WHO, PHE, CDC, BMGF, The Global Fund, Gavi) and research centres and public health agencies in many low and middle income countries (LMICs). Continued funding for the Centre will allow existing partnerships to be sustained and enhanced, and new collaborations with researchers and health agencies in LMICs to be developed. By supporting PhD training and postdoctoral career development, it will also continue to expand the UK skill base in mathematical modelling and advanced analysis applied to health problems. Last, continued MRC support will pump-prime new priority research areas, including work on improving the development of new vaccines and on tackling the global challenge posed by antimicrobial resistance.

Resulting publications

Funding information

Funding period: 2018-2023

Funding amount: EUR 5092126

Grant number: MR/R015600/1

Research Categories

Main Subject Area

Fields of Research