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Find about recent news from across the Edinburgh Infectious Diseases network

Covid-19 vaccine not linked with period disruption, study finds

Painful periods and menstrual cramp problems. Woman having stomach cramps.
Covid-19 vaccination does not cause concerning changes to periods, research has found.

Fossil site is ‘Rosetta Stone’ for understanding early life

Leading edge technology has uncovered secrets about a world-renowned fossil hoard that could offer vital clues about early life on earth.

University commits fund for African partnerships

Hands holding a globe of the world depicting the African continent
A multi-year commitment to explore innovative educational opportunities for African students and build research partnerships across the African continent has been announced by the University of Edinburgh.

Covid rule fines peaked in latter stages of lockdown, study finds

Colour image of the back of a policeman's jacket
Most fines for Covid rule breaches were issued when England was in its third national lockdown and Wales was in its second, research shows.

Multi-species study aids understanding of bird flu

Response to infection in birds from chickens to crows points to biological factors linked to disease resistance.

Research focus: from apes to organoids

ape eating in forest
We explore publication highlights from across Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, 6 March 2023.

Common cold may have helped curb Africa’s Covid-19 death toll

The higher prevalence of common cold viruses in Africa may have helped the continent experience relatively lower death rates from Covid-19, a study of people in Zimbabwe suggests.

Covid-19: Targeting sugar-binding proteins and immunity in cancer patients

Recent Covid-19 clinical trial results from Edinburgh Infectious Diseases

Covid-19 vaccine scientists win prestigious prize

A photograph of a row of covid-19 vaccine vials
Two scientists who made important contributions to the development of Covid-19 vaccines have received a prestigious award from the University of Edinburgh.

Highlights from 2022

Featuring reflections of some of the stories that took place across Edinburgh Infectious Diseases – Covid-19 risks and recovery plans, liver regrowth by leprosy bacteria, the evolution of antibiotic resistance and more.

Intensive farming and trade drove spread of livestock infection

Evolutionary study of bacteria that cause a common infection of cattle reveals their origin and spread via ocean trade links, shedding light on modern-day disease.

Scotland’s Covid-19 sewage data could reveal new health insights

Data from Scotland’s Covid-19 Wastewater Programme could offer future insights into the pandemic, its long-term health impacts and help tackle other viruses.

Baby’s jab responses linked to birth delivery method, study finds

The method by which a baby was delivered is associated with how its immune system will respond to two key childhood vaccines, research suggests.

Ancient disease has potential to regenerate livers

Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest and most persistent diseases but the bacteria that cause it may also have the surprising ability to grow and regenerate a vital organ.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2022 - Edinburgh AMR Showcase

To mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2022, on 21 November 2022 the Edinburgh AMR Forum is hosting the AMR showcase.

Genetic analysis key to understanding Legionella risk, study finds

Routine sampling of water supplies and genomic sequencing – determination of the entire genetic makeup - of Legionella bacteria could play a key role in identifying the source of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, research suggests.

Fighting a pandemic using Digital Contact Tracing in Uganda’s haulage industry

A new study fully documents the development of a Digital Contact Tracing tool for use on the African continent.

Post-pandemic diet shifts could avert millions of premature deaths

Covid-19 recovery plans should focus on healthier diets as much as economic growth to prevent huge numbers of avoidable deaths, research suggests.

Recordings now available from 11th Annual Symposium

Together Again, the 11th Annual Symposium from Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, was held on Thursday 23 June at the Roslin Institute.

Keith Matthews receives 2023 Alice and C. C. Wang award in Molecular Parasitology

Many congratulations to Prof Keith Matthews, chair of Parasite Biology in the School of Biological Science, who has received the award for seminal contributions to the field.

2022 Ker Memorial Prize awarded to Dr Mabel Tettey

The annual prize for the most outstanding PhD thesis in Infectious Diseases has been awarded to Mabel Tettey in the School of Biological Sciences.

Vaccine campaign to free Indian state from rabies

One man with a face covering holds a puppy while another man also in a face covering vaccinates a super cute puppy
Data-driven, One Health approach puts Goa on target to eliminate disease and save lives.

Pandemic Science Hub to develop better drugs to fight lung disease

Scientists work at the Baillie Gifford Pandemic Science Hub
A new multi-million pound research programme to develop treatments for lung infections such as Covid-19 and future pandemics has been announced at the University of Edinburgh with support from a significant donation by Baillie Gifford.  

National assessment highlights research excellence in agriculture, food and veterinary sciences

UK Research Excellence Framework results affirm outstanding research environment and impact on society.

School of Biological Sciences Ranked in UK Top 5 for Research Quality

School of Biological Sciences Ranked in UK Top 5 for Research Quality
The School of Biological Sciences is ranked fifth in the UK, and top ranked in Scotland, for the quality and breadth of its research, known as research power, by Times Higher Education.

Research rankings confirm Edinburgh as world leader

Sam, Sara, Olivia, Jane, Udita - Edinburgh graduates.
Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities has been reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Study sheds light on bacterial sharing between humans and animals

A recent paper demonstrates how infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance can be shared between humans and animals in an urban environment.

Century-old malaria parasite puzzle solved as ape origin traced

Researchers in Edinburgh have solved a 100-year-old mystery about the evolutionary links between malaria parasites that infect humans and chimpanzees.

Fleming Fund AMR fellows visit Edinburgh

The Fleming Fund supports training and capacity building for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in low and middle income countries.

Together Again - 2022 Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Symposium

The 11th Annual Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Symposium will be held on Thursday 23 June 2022 - please save-the-date.

Covid-19 mixed with flu increases risk of severe illness and death

Adults in hospital who have Covid-19 and the flu at the same time are at much greater risk of severe disease and death compared with patients who have Covid-19 alone or with other viruses, research shows.

Tackling Toxoplasmosis: A new animated film about the world’s most successful parasite

The Moredun Research Institute Moredun has released a short animation to help inform and educate people about Toxoplasma gondii.

Antibiotics after birth affects gut microbes of babies, study finds

Treating babies with antibiotics in the first week of life is linked with a decrease in healthy bacteria necessary to digest milk and an increase in antimicrobial resistance, research suggests.

Edinburgh work with Fleming Fund fellowships highlighted by ICARS

The University of Edinburgh's work with the Fleming Fund fellowship Scheme has been highlighted by the conference organised by the International Centre for AMR Solutions (ICARS).

First virus infection linked with infections later in life, study finds

Asymptomatic viral infections in the first days and weeks of a baby’s life are associated with an increased risk of respiratory infections later in life, research suggests.

Antibiotic resistance predates modern medicine

Hedgehog in leaves
Bacteria with antibiotic resistance infected wildlife centuries ago, DNA family tree shows.

Bacterial gene has key role in Legionnaires’ disease

A large-scale study of bacterial DNA samples had uncovered the significance of a gene in causing human infections.

Black children overlooked in scar tissue disorder tests, study says

An immune disease that can damage vital organs – and is supposedly rare in young people – is more common than previously thought among Black children, a study from the School of Biological Sciences suggests.

Genetic contact tracing could help curb early TB outbreaks

The novel use of genetic contact tracing to identify the source of a bovine tuberculosis outbreak could signal a new approach in managing the disease, a study suggests.

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Winter Lecture 2021 – Sir Jeremy Farrar

This year we are delighted to have Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, giving our annual public Winter Lecture on Tuesday 16 November.

Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD programmes now recruiting for 2022

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is delighted to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2022 cohorts of students on two Wellcome Trust funded 4-year PhD programmes.

Vaccines offer strong protection against death from Delta, study says

Vaccination is over 90 per cent effective at preventing deaths from the Delta variant of Covid-19, according to the first country-level data on mortality.

Remote monitoring provides early help for Covid-19 patients

Mobile apps image
Patients at risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms have been successfully treated at an early stage thanks to the use of a remote monitoring service.

New study challenges understanding of pandemic preparedness and resilience in Africa

Countries in Africa assessed as being least vulnerable to an epidemic were the worst affected by Covid-19, new research suggests.

Call for speakers: Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Early Career Researcher Symposium

We are delighted to open the call for speakers at the first Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Early Career Researcher Symposium.

New research into novel vaccines against ovine enzootic abortion at Moredun

A sheep with twin lambs
A new vaccine being developed against ovine enzootic abortion by scientists at the Moredun Research Institute has shown very promising results in laboratory trials.

On World Mosquito Day 2021 highlighting researchers at the University of Edinburgh studying malaria

Female mosquitoes on foam
Here we highlight some of the groundbreaking researchers based in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh who are tackling malaria.

Urgent action is needed to tackle impact of early childhood schistosomiasis on education

A new study reveals that the negative impacts of schistosome infection on early child development and educational attainment can be reversed within 6 months after treatment with the drug praziquantel.

Genetic variations linked to severe Covid-19 risk identified

Edinburgh researchers are part of an international consortium who have discovered 13 DNA sequences that are associated with people developing the most severe form of Covid-19.

Listen again: Keeping Connected - 10th Annual Symposium

We were delighted to host our virtual Annual Symposium on Wednesday 24 June 2021.

Fast, precise and unintrusive Covid tests trialled at University

TestEd logo collage
A potentially more accurate, less invasive and cheaper method of screening for Covid-19 is being piloted at the University of Edinburgh.

Delta variant increases hospitalisation but vaccine continues to protect

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is associated with approximately double the risk of hospitalisation compared with the Alpha variant, according to a new nationwide study.

Dr Derick Osakunor is winner of 2021 Ker Memorial Prize

Derick Osakunor was awarded the prize for his work with Prof Francisca Mutapi on the treatment and control of Schistosomiasis in preschool aged children.

Covid vaccine linked to low platelet count, nationwide study suggests

A condition that affects the blood, known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), may be associated the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in rare cases, research suggests.

Professor Julie Fitzpatrick OBE appointed Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland

Professor Fitzpatrick will take up the new advisory role with the Scottish Government on 14 June 2021.

New Covid-19 dashboard launched to track spread across Scotland

The Tracking and Modelling for Scotland dashboard provides interactive detailed weekly maps to track the spread of COVID-19 across the region, to help inform control strategies.

Light-sensitive drug acts as Trojan horse to kill drug-resistant bacteria

A light-activated drug that can enter and kill bacterial and cancer cells without harming nearby healthy cells has been tested successfully.

10th Annual Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Symposium - Keeping Connected

We are delighted that we will be hosting our annual symposium on Wednesday 24 June 2021. Registration is now open!

Covid-19 early warning system could avert future lockdowns

Scientists are developing a coronavirus early warning system that could prevent future lockdowns by combining data on vaccine uptake with wastewater testing.

Successful workshop on Disease Transmission

Edinburgh Infectious Diseaes hosted a workshop on 29 April 2021 exploring key topics in transmission biology.

Loeske Kruuk awarded ERC Advanced Grant

Professor Loeske Kruuk, who will be joining the School of Biological Sciences later in 2021, has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant, to study evolution in wild animal populations.

Sunlight linked with lower Covid-19 deaths, study suggests

Increased exposure to the sun’s rays – specifically UVA - could act as a simple public health intervention if further research establishes it causes a reduction in mortality rates, experts say.

€1M research project to focus on a progressive brain disease in deer

A team led by researchers at the Roslin Institute will investigate the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a condition similar to BSE in cattle, in European deer.

Francisca Mutapi selected as a TED2021 Fellow

Global Health Professor to join the newest class of 20 global visionaries, sharing their big ideas throughout the events planned for 2021.

Mysteries of malaria infections deepen after human trial study

Scientists have discovered that tracking malaria as it develops in humans is a powerful way to detect how the malaria parasite causes a range of infection outcomes in its host.

Edinburgh Disease Transmission workshop - registration now OPEN!!

You are most welcome to join this online Edinburgh Infectious Diseases workshop on Thursday 29 April. Please register on Eventbrite.

Malaria immunity insight could lead to new vaccine development

Key insights on how malaria immunity develops after repeated infections could lead to new vaccine strategies and change the approach to tackling other infectious diseases, a study has found.

Covid-19 vaccine roll-out working, first national study suggests

Vaccination has been linked to a substantial reduction in the risk of Covid-19 admissions to Scotland’s hospitals, landmark research suggests.

Altruism in bacteria - Gut microbes help family first

The discovery that in real-world conditions bacteria, similar to animals, cooperate and selflessly act for the greater good of the group, could help scientists to predict how helpful and harmful strains behave.

Loeske Kruuk awarded Royal Society Research Professorship

Professor Loeske Kruuk will return to the School of Biological Sciences after being awarded a Royal Society Research Professorship, the Royal Society’s premier research award.

Sara Macias awarded Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship for work on interferon signalling

Sara will receive £1.8M over the next five year to work on the project which seeks to understand the contribution of the miRNA-interferon interaction to human disease.

£2.5M Wellcome Trust Investigator Award for Keith Matthews

Prof Keith Matthews, member of Edinburgh Infectious Diseases in the School of Biological Sciences, will receive £2.5M over the next 5 years to support research into the African trypanosomes that cause sleeping sickness in humans and animals.

Smart vaccine scheme quick to curb rabies threat in African cities

More people could be protected from life-threatening rabies thanks to an agile approach to dog vaccination using smart phone technology to spot areas of low vaccination coverage in real time.

Genes could be key to new Covid-19 treatments, study finds

Potential treatments for Covid-19 have been identified after the discovery of five genes associated with the most severe form of the disease.

ERC Grant Success - EID researchers awarded €4M in European funding

Projects led by Amy Buck and Steven Spoel have been awarded funding by the European Research Council (ERC) in its latest Consolidator Grant competition for mid-career researchers.

A look-back on 2019-20 in Edinburgh Infectious Diseases

As this incredible year draws to a close, we would like to share with you some of the highlights for Edinburgh Infectious Diseases over the past 18 months.

Belated Annual Symposium showcases work from across Edinburgh Infectious Diseases

All the talks from the 9th Annual Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Symposium are now available to watch again.

Public lecture: 9 Months of Discovery - How we found out why people die from Covid-19

2020 Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Winter Lecture: We are delighted to invite you to our Annual Winter Lecture, which this year will be given by Dr Kenneth Baillie on Wednesday 25 November at 5.30 pm.

Open to a world of possibilities - One Health in Edinburgh

African man with calf over shoulders
On the eve of the 2020 World One Health Congress, the University of Edinburgh has launched an online showcase of our One Health approach to improving livelihoods around the world.

Covid-19 drug trial raises prospect of home-based treatment

A drug first developed more than 30 years ago is to have its effectiveness at reducing the progression of Covid-19 trialed in people who are self-isolating after testing positive for the disease.

‘Social distancing’ in sheep could cure flock of maedi-visna

A collaboration between scientists in Scotland and The Netherlands has found that a lack of ‘social distancing’ between sheep is almost exclusively responsible for the spread of the virus that causes the chronic viral disease maedi-visna.

Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD programmes now recruiting for 2021

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is delighted to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2021 cohorts of students on two Wellcome Trust funded 4-year PhD programmes.

Registration now open!! Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Symposium - the virtual edition

We are delighted to announce that participants can now register for the 9th Annual Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Symposium on 10 and 11 November 2020.

High surface tension in red blood cells can prevent invasion by malaria parasite

A mosquito after taking a blood meal
The secret of how the Dantu genetic blood variant helps to protect against malaria has been revealed for the first time by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with colleagues at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge and the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya.

Novel study of poultry red mites awarded key funding

A grant worth almost half a million pounds has been awarded to the Moredun Research Institute to develop a novel way of studying poultry red mites which greatly reduces the number of hens required.

Caffeine shot delivers wakeup call on antifungal drug resistance

The management of fungal infections in plants and humans could be transformed by a breakthrough in understanding how fungi develop resistance to drugs.

Discovery of four Covid-19 risk groups helps guide treatment

People who are admitted to hospital with Covid-19 can be divided into four distinct groups, according to data from the world’s largest study of patients with the disease.

Covid-19 less deadly and causes milder symptoms in children

Children and teenagers are less likely than adults to develop severe Covid-19 or die from the disease, according to the world’s largest study of hospital patients with Covid-19.

Genetic insight holds promise of Covid-19 vaccine

Detailed knowledge of the genetic code of the novel coronavirus could support efforts to develop a vaccine.

Breakthrough vaccine vehicle for sheep and goats using trypanosomes

Roslin Technologies, the UK’s specialist AgTech venture builder, is developing a unique vehicle to deliver vaccines to sheep and goats, using technology generated from a harmless single cell parasite found on a remote island in the North Atlantic.

Scottish experts join global search for Covid-19 treatment

Leading scientists from Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee have joined a €77.7 million initiative to find a treatment for Covid-19 and are optimistic progress can be made.

Masks can block 99.9% of Covid-linked droplets, study shows

People who wear a face mask significantly lower the risk of spreading Covid-19 to others through speaking and coughing, suggests research from the University of Edinburgh.

Sustainable nylon production made possible by bacteria discovery

Nylon manufacture could be revolutionised by the discovery that bacteria can make a key chemical involved in the process, without emitting harmful greenhouse gases.

Experts call for closer wildlife monitoring to prevent future pandemics

Virus and DNA
Global wildlife experts are calling for improvements to how pathogens are tested and tracked in wildlife, to reduce the risk of future pandemics.

Scottish vet labs at the Moredun Institute to support NHS with Covid-19 testing

Moredun Research Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) are working together to support the NHS by providing extra capacity for vital testing of samples within their laboratory facilities at Pentlands Science Park in Midlothian.

Stroke found to be Covid-19’s most common neurological complication

Key research involving the University of Edinburgh, into Covid-19’s impact on the nervous system, shows stroke is the most commonly reported neurological complication affecting patients hospitalised by the virus.

Edinburgh researchers to trial salt water solution to treat Covid-19

A simple salt water solution may help to reduce the early symptoms and progression of Covid-19, research suggests.

New insights on Covid-19 at Edinburgh Coronavirus workshop

The second Edinburgh Coronavirus workshop – Covid-19: three-months on – was held on 23 June 2020, to discuss work that is contributing to our understanding and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Clocking in with malaria parasites

Discovery of why timing matters to malaria parasites reveals a vulnerability that could be exploited for future treatment strategies.

Second Edinburgh Coronavirus workshop on 23 June 2020

On Tuesday 23 June 2020 Edinburgh Infectious Diseases will host a second workshop on the current research and clinical activities in Edinburgh that are addressing the SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 pandemic.

Fight against common flu aided by gene discovery

New treatments for flu could emerge from find of human genes targeted by flu viruses.

Young Scots to be asked how Covid-19 is changing teen life

Young people aged from 12 to 17 years old in Scotland are being asked to share their views and experiences of how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting their lives.

Most Scots trust Holyrood to halt new wave of Covid-19, poll finds

A majority of people living in Scotland are confident the Scottish Government is capable of stopping a further outbreak of Covid-19, a survey suggests.

University facility to provide essential proteins for coronavirus research

The Edinburgh Protein Production Facility (EPPF) has joined a national consortium to provide medically important proteins that will aid coronavirus research.

New study predicts global patterns of viral sharing among mammals

New work by University of Edinburgh PhD student and the EcoHealth Alliance has provided the first broadly applicable model to estimate patterns of viral sharing globally – for all mammal species and all known viruses.

Two-tier approach could start UK’s move out of lockdown

A man sits on the floor, looking towards a large virus particle
Easing the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown could begin by strengthening protection for the most vulnerable while relaxing restrictions for everyone else, experts suggest.

University project makes Covid-19 information accessible in different languages

Members of Edinburgh Infectious Diseases have made translations of the presentations at the Edinburgh Coronavirus Workshop available in over twenty languages.

Obesity hampers Covid-19 recovery prospects, study finds

Reduced lung function and inflamed tissue under the skin and around internal organs could be linked to the increased risk, researchers say. Both factors can trigger a life-threatening over-reaction of the body’s immune response that causes harm to patients, the study suggests.

Professor Keith Matthews elected Fellow of the Royal Society

Keith Matthews, Professor of Parasite Biology in the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research at the University of Edinburgh, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his outstanding contribution to science.

Laser-cut face guards to shield Covid-19 key workers

Innovative face shields for key workers fighting Covid-19 can be made more quickly than other guards thanks to laser-cutting technology.

University to support NHS by testing Covid-19 samples

Scientists, laboratory space and equipment from the University of Edinburgh are being used to support NHS Lothian’s testing efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Survey to gauge Covid-19’s impact on our everyday lives

A survey has been launched to capture how Covid-19 is affecting the mood of the nation.

Covid-19 Perspectives from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science

Academics from CAHSS are contributing informed opinion and comment about the Covid-19 pandemic on a new blogsite.

Army of scientists re-deployed in search for Covid-19 treatments

Up to 150 researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Inflammation Research are being re-deployed to work on a project that aims to test existing and experimental drugs to find a treatment for Covid-19.

PhD students rise to the challenge of Covid-19

Students from the Wellcome Trust PhD programme in Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health at the University of Edinburgh are taking on projects to help answer key questions in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Critical courses made free to support NHS and global fightback against Covid-19

The University of Edinburgh has made a number of its courses available online for free in a bid to support frontline NHS staff in the fight against Covid-19.

Edinburgh researchers to participate in EMBL Twinning Project on RNA biology

David Tollervey, from the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology and Sara Macias from the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research will take part in a twinning project with the Central European Institute of Technology and other partners, to share research expertise on RNA biology.

Experts appointed to Covid-19 advisory group

Four Edinburgh researchers have joined a group providing expert advice to the Scottish Government on its response to Covid-19.

University fast-tracks innovation to battle COVID-19

Edinburgh researchers are joining forces with commercial companies to quickly develop new technologies to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Edinburgh scientists to map COVID-19 spread

Female scientist prepares SARS- CoV2 sample for real time sequencing at ERI laboratories.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian have joined a UK consortium analysing the genetic code of Covid-19.