Top scientists are working together in a new research group dedicated to tackling bird flu.
This consortium has received £1.5 million from Defra and the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC). It will be responsible for developing new strategies to tackle future bird flu outbreaks.
The UK is on the migratory flight path for wild birds transiting across northern Europe. This year has seen some of the largest outbreaks the UK has ever experienced – with a huge impact on poultry health and the economy.
Scientists from the Pirbright Institute hope to develop new strategies to control the spread of disease. This could boost the UK poultry industry and rural economy, which have suffered from repeated bird flu outbreaks and flock lockdowns.
Key aims include monitoring current flu virus strains, better understanding the spread of disease in different bird populations and developing models to predict how the avian influenza virus may spread.
Professor Munir Iqbal, head of Pirbright’s avian influenza virus group, said: “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.
“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.”