University of Oxford bosses plan £ 500m pandemic hub to prevent ‘another catastrophe’ like Covid from engulfing the world
- The Pandemic Sciences Center will conduct research to help governments
- Solutions for worst-case scenarios, such as viruses with high mortality rates
- The Oxford chief said she hoped new centers could prepare the world
Oxford University aims to raise £ 500 million for its new center dedicated solely to tackling future pandemics.
The Pandemic Sciences Center will conduct research to help governments better respond to outbreaks such as Covid-19.
Experts from the university, the birthplace of the AstraZeneca vaccine, say they want to provide solutions for worst-case scenarios, such as a virus with a 50 percent mortality rate.
Oxford chief Louise Richardson said she hopes the new center will ensure that “the world is never caught unprepared again.”
Experts from the university, the birthplace of the AstraZeneca vaccine, say they want to provide solutions for worst-case scenarios, such as a virus with a 50 percent mortality rate
Professor Peter Horby, who will be the center’s inaugural director, said, “It doesn’t have to be a pandemic to make this happen.
“This level of innovation and multi-sector collaboration must be applied day in and day out to prevent another catastrophe like Covid-19.”
The university will approach philanthropists, business partners and governments to seek the required £ 500 million.
Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, said: ‘It would be easy to ignore how much more serious a pandemic could have been this time – other highly pathogenic viruses have a mortality rate of 35-50 percent – imagine we had a pandemic with one in three infected people dying.
‘The University of Oxford is uniquely positioned to bring about a major change worldwide in the way we respond to the threat of emerging infections.’ He added that the UK must ‘now invest in sound science’ to help protect public health in the ‘generations to come’.
The university will approach philanthropists, business partners and governments to seek the required £ 500 million. Pictured, The Radcliffe Camera in Oxford
In Oxford, the center will bring together academics and experts from across the research community – including infectious diseases, vaccinology, immunology, structural biology, diagnostics, drug research, clinical trials, data science, public health, and social and political sciences.
Professor Richardson added: ‘The recent pandemic has shown the unique contributions that research universities such as Oxford can make to pandemic preparedness.
“We build on decades of infectious disease medical research and data science, we have long-standing international partnerships, and we have the ability to act and adapt quickly.
“If we join industry and public health agencies, we can make sure the world is never caught unprepared again.” It comes after the government was criticized for being “unprepared” for such a pandemic, both in terms of science and public policy.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week accused ministers of having “no plan” when they closed schools last year for lockdown.