Pirbright to join forces with UK experts to help tackle bird flu

The consortium has received £1.5 million in funding
calendar icon 24 June 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Pirbright scientists are set to collaborate with some of the UK’s top avian influenza experts in a new research consortium dedicated to tackling bird flu, according to a press release from the research institute.

This consortium has received £1.5 million from the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and will be responsible for developing new strategies to tackle future bird flu outbreaks.

The UK is in the migratory flight path for wild birds flying across northern Europe, therefore outbreaks occur each year. However, this year has seen some of the largest outbreaks the UK has ever experienced, which has had a huge impact on poultry health and the economy.

It is hoped that through collaboration and knowledge exchange, this consortium will help to find strategies to control the spread of disease. This will subsequently boost the UK poultry industry and rural economy, which have suffered during recent outbreaks and lockdowns of poultry flocks.

The key aims of the consortium include:

  • Monitoring current flu virus strains
  • Understanding spread of disease in different bird populations
  • Developing models to predict how the avian influenza virus may spread
  • Informing strategies to decrease risk of disease and transmission to people

"The expertise of Pirbright’s researchers will help to achieve the key aims of this consortium and as an Institute we are extremely proud to be part of this," said Professor Munir Iqbal, head of Pirbright’s Avian Influenza Virus group. "Avian influenza is an economically important virus that has devastating effects on the poultry industry, therefore improved understanding of the virus will give us more insight into how it spreads and inform our control strategies to prevent it from spreading to people and other animals."

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