There is a new scientific institution that aims to prevent and respond to pandemics in the future. It is the Pandemic Institute in Liverpool, England.
The Guardian report says the institute exists to accelerate vaccine development. It will also include facilities where volunteers will test new vaccines and treatments under controlled conditions.
Professor Daniela Ferreira, head of clinical science at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), said if a vaccine candidate could be tested during the first wave of infection. Then, the shots would be ready months in advance.
“Here at Liverpool, I’m leading one of the sites for phase 3 of the Oxford vaccine study,” Ferreira said.
“We were able to organize very quickly. When the government implemented a nationwide lockdown, the number of cases plummeted. We expected to get the vaccine study results within three months. But it took longer because there was less community transmission.”
LSTM is one of seven universities, hospitals and local authorities in the city behind the institute which was launched on Monday (13/9/2021). It’s with a £10m fund from medical group Innova.
The Pandemic Institute Facility
The Pandemic Institute will have a high containment facility outside the hospital, which will speed up the process. If the Pandemic Institute facility becomes available in January 2020. So the earliest prototype vaccines and antiviral drugs can be tested for effectiveness during the first batch.
Then, if the vaccine becomes available for testing during the first wave. Ferreira believes they could be ready at least three months earlier or as early as the second wave in October.
“If we use a controlled model, you can have a much quicker idea of whether a vaccine is likely to work or not,” Ferreira said.
Since new viruses are usually zoonotic diseases that pass from animals to humans, one of the main focuses of the new institute will be building a database of diseases that attack animals and trying to figure out which ones are most likely to cross species boundaries.
Several other bodies similar to the Pandemic Institute are being created around the world. This month, the World Health Organization (WHO) opened its Center for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin.
Meanwhile the French government launched Prezode, an international initiative focused on zoonotic diseases, and the Rockefeller Foundation created the Institute for Pandemic Prevention in the United States (US).