Imperial to lead the way in developing vaccines against bio-weapons

11/01/04

Scientists at Imperial College London and Hammersmith Hospital are to help develop new vaccines in case of a terrorist release of biological agents such as anthrax.

The team has been awarded $4.5 million by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institute of Health (NIH) to develop new vaccines against a possible bio-terrorist attack, and new emerging infectious diseases.

Dr Danny Altmann, lead researcher at Imperial College London and Hammersmith Hospital comments: "Despite many of the current possible bio-weapons having existed for many years we only have a limited defence against them. With the increased threat of terrorism and bio-terrorism it is vital that we develop a much greater understanding of these biological agents including anthrax. This programme will allow us to develop more effective measures to protect the population in the event of an attack.

"At the same time, the research will also be of huge benefit in understanding new and emerging infectious diseases, whilst we carry out fundamental research into immunology. This fundamental research will also help to develop much more effective diagnostics and treatment which can be used for a variety of diseases."

Working with colleagues from the University of Newcastle, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, UK, University of Maryland and the US Navy, Dr Altmann will use state of the art technologies to develop new diagnostics and treatments for anthrax.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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