A new data hub has been created to help UK researchers and policymakers monitor and respond to vector-borne diseases.
The One Health Vector-Borne Diseases Hub will centralise data, making it easier to access and disseminate. The project will also aim to create networks to help researchers more easily share their findings with the relevant people.
With disease-carrying species expected to expand their habitats into temperate regions in the coming years, it is hoped the hub will make it easier to track the spread of diseases, forecast disease risk, and mitigate the impact on human and animal health.
The project has received £1.5m funding from Defra and UK Research and Innovation. It will be led by Imperial College London, alongside the University of Liverpool, the Pirbright Institute, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the UK Centre of Hydrology and Ecology are also involved in the project.
The first phase of the project will build the infrastructure needed to allow researchers to access and share data that is currently stored in separate data silos.
The second phase will aim to develop relationships between scientists and policymakers, adopting a One Health approach to help medical and veterinary researchers share data and discoveries. A new web platform is planned to aid communication, along with training sessions and events.
Principal investigator for the hub Dr Lauren Cator said: “To respond to vector-borne diseases we need to be able to rapidly share data and expertise about humans, animals, the vector species which transmit pathogens between them, and the environment.
“This project will provide new ways for the UK community to share data and support the development of new networks for using that data to tackle this emerging challenge. We are well-positioned to prepare ourselves for a future spillover or emergence event.”
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