The Pandemic Sciences Centre, which will include a number of core institutes, will harness the strong global research collaborations that the University of Oxford has developed over more than forty years. Its mission will be to ensure that the world is better equipped to create global, and equitable science-driven solutions to prepare for, identify, and counter future pandemic threats. The new centre will also build on the strong and unique collaborations developed in record time across national borders between academia, industry and public health bodies during the coronavirus pandemic.
The centre will focus on three core themes:
- Accelerating understanding and insights: generating actionable knowledge and data (from pathogens through to patients) in near 'real-time' and making this globally accessible.
- Translating research into real-world solutions: creating and deploying effective, acceptable and equitable health technologies, including digital tools, diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.
- Enhancing confidence, trust and impact: identifying ways to strengthen societal and political engagement, resilience, and responsiveness.
Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases, will be inaugural Director of the centre. Peter has worked on many global health threats including SARS-1, bird flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Ebola, Lassa fever, and plague.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that spectacular advances are possible through an alliance of science, the public sector and industry - creating digital disease control tools, diagnostic tests, and life-saving treatments and vaccines at unprecedented speed. But it should not take a pandemic to make this happen. This level of innovation and multi-sectoral collaboration must be applied, day in and day out, to prevent another catastrophe like COVID-19.
Professor Peter Horby