Norfolk researchers join WHO experts

Just Regional
May 7, 2020 2 mins read

Scientists working in Norfolk have joined the World Health Organisation expert advisory groups tackling the coronavirus.

Professor Simon Carding, of the Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, has been asked to join WHO’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Group on vaccine prioritisation; and Dr Simon Funnell, of the Quadram Institute and Public Health England, is on the covid-19 expert advisory group on animal models.

Professor Simon Carding.

Prof Carding and his co-researchers from the University of Kent and the University of Liverpool are working on a new drug delivery method for vaccines. Professor Mark Smales (University of Kent) sits on WHO’s expert group for assays development for vaccines and Professor James Stewart (University of Liverpool) is on the expert group for animal models.

The scientists are working on new approaches for vaccine delivery developed by Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB) based on engineering the natural ability of resident gut bacteria to generate nanoparticle sized Outer Membrane Vesicles (OMVs).
The advantages of such a vaccine include needle-free vaccination, easier administration (oral or nasal), rapid cost-effective production, and a stable product that can be stored for months without cold storage. OMV-based vaccines are proven with meningococcal vaccines already in use and with excellent safety records.

Professor Carding said: “Being asked to work on a WHO expert advisory group is always an honour. As a researcher, it’s a reflection of the impact of your research and expertise built up over the years and, of course, it’s a privilege to be able to help the global response to covid-19, alongside your peers, through the World Health Organisation.”

Based on the Norwich Research Park, the Quadram Institute is a partnership between Quadram Institute Bioscience, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of East Anglia and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

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