Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
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Latest news

Find about recent news from across the Edinburgh Infectious Diseases network

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.

Successful Edinburgh Coronavirus workshop

On Wednesday 25 March Edinburgh Infectious Diseases hosted a workshop on the current research and clinical activities in Edinburgh that are addressing the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts play key role in bid to curb Covid-19

A view of Old College quad
Researchers from across the University are rallying to support global efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

New funding to help understand how Covid-19 affects the most vulnerable

The University of Edinburgh has received nearly £5 million to tackle the coronavirus pandemic from the government’s rapid response call.

UK launches £20m whole genome sequence alliance to map spread of coronavirus

A team of academics at the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian are part of national consortium that will look for breakthroughs that help the UK respond to this and future pandemics, and save lives.

Facility to boost research into animal and human health

LARIF Opening
Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility builds on animal science expertise at Easter Bush campus.

Research gets a huge boost towards a new generation louping ill vaccine

An exciting partnership has been launched between Moredun and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) to tackle the problem of louping ill.

Congratulations to our new Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Huge congratulations to three members of Edinburgh Infectious Diseases who have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh!

Using sewage for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance

In a new article published in Science magazine, Prof Mark Woolhouse discusses how a global system for the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance would exploit sewage

Infection with male-killing bugs hold key to African monarch butterflies’ curious colour changes

It is a spectacular butterfly breed with an intriguing back story … now scientists have revealed how male-killing bacteria are helping to create a dazzling hybrid of the African monarch.

Genetic resistance to lethal virus found in key farmed fish species

Red Tilapia fish swimming in a pond
Resistance to a deadly disease that is affecting the second most farmed fish in the world has been found to be mainly due to differences in genes between families of the same fish.

Immune cell insights could aid flu vaccine design

Flu Virus
Understanding the role played by a key immune cell could inform the development of vaccines.

New method aids study of poultry infections

Fluorescent green immune cells
A method of sampling tissue could aid research into therapies for chicken lung diseases.

Antibiotic resistance surprisingly stable in pigs

Four Pigs
Antimicrobial resistance gene counts did not change in response to antibiotic treatment.

Genetic clues of TB spread between cows and badgers revealed

Tuberculosis in cattle and badgers passes between members of the same species at least twice as often than between cow and badger, a study has found.

New exhibition features research at Edinburgh University tackling deadly parasitic diseases

A new exhibition highlighting Scottish research tackling parasitic diseases has opened at the National Museum of Scotland, and runs until 19 April 2020.

African experts join forces to curb threat of tropical diseases

Five African scientists are to study at the University of Edinburgh as part of a scheme to tackle infectious diseases.

Potential harm of newly discovered viruses predicted by new study from University of Edinburgh

The threat to global human health posed by newly emerging viruses such as Ebola, SARS and the Zika virus can be predicted, a study has found.

Bacteria overcome hurdles to jump between species

The remarkable ability of some bacteria to transfer from one species to another has been highlighted by a novel study method.

New PhD programme in Integrated One Health Solutions

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is pleased to announce a strategic partnership between the Universities of Leiden and Edinburgh to offer six PhD studentships fully funded for four years focused on Integrated One Health Solutions.

Advances in understanding infectious lung cancer in sheep may lead to new diagnostic tests

A new study recently published in Journal of Virology has identified genetic changes occurring during the growth of lung cancer in sheep that improve understanding of how the disease develops.

Climate lessons could aid antibiotics challenge

Bacteria Culture
Rising antimicrobial resistance, fuelled by overuse of treatments, could be curbed with a framework inspired by climate change targets.

Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD programmes now recruiting

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is delighted to announce that recruitment has now opened for two Wellcome Trust funded 4-year PhD programmes at the University of Edinburgh.

New study shows E. coli toxin in cattle is responsible for life-threatening bacterial disease in humans

A new study shows that a specific toxin produced by naturally-occurring E. coli bacteria helps these bacteria colonise the intestinal tract of cattle, increases transmission of the bacteria to other animals in the herd, and promotes disease in humans.

Wild animals’ immune systems decline with age, sheep study finds

It is well established that weakened immune systems in old age affect people’s health and fitness, but a study suggests that it is also an issue for wild animals.

Innovative science PhD programmes announced by the Wellcome Trust

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is delighted to announce that it has been awarded two prestigious 4-year PhD programmes by the Wellcome Trust.

Edinburgh data centre to boost respiratory research and innovation

A new data research centre, coordinated from Edinburgh, will help to improve the lives of people living with respiratory conditions.

Chief Technology Officer and Innovation & Engagement Manager join Roslin Technologies

In Summer 2019 The Chief Technology Officer, Prof Jacqui Matthews and the Innovation & Engagement manager, Dr. Karen Fairlie-Clarke joined the Roslin Technologies team.

Uganda Fleming Fellowships in AMR surveillance at the University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is hosting six fellows from Uganda to help build capacity in the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic use.

Tell us what you think - we're all ears!

To help us improve how we support research and training in infectious diseases in Edinburgh, we're seeking your feedback.

A great showcase of infectious disease research in Edinburgh

The eighth annual Edinburgh Infectious Diseases symposium from was held in June 2019, and once again was a vibrant showcase of the enormous variety of research being done across our network.

Gene-edited chicken cells resist bird flu virus in the lab

Free range chickens
Scientists have used gene-editing techniques to stop the bird flu virus from spreading in chicken cells grown in the lab.

Immune discovery may boost cancer therapies

Cancer therapies that use immune cells to trigger the body to attack tumours could be improved by a molecule that boosts their function.

2019 Ker Memorial Prize awarded for work on the immune system in Drosophila

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is delighted to announce that the 2019 Ker Memorial Prize has been awarded to Dr Billy Palmer from the School of Biological Sciences.

Costly kids have survival consequences for sheep mothers, shows new study

New research published by scientists at the Moredun Research Institute and the Universities of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Lancaster shows that, for at least one population, the link between offspring and infections can have deadly consequences.

Immune system discovery could aid quest for stem cell therapies

A discovery of how stem cells are protected from viruses could inform the development of therapies for use in medicine, research suggests.

Over 100 years of bird flu and human pandemics

Human pandemic by new bird flu viruses is a continuing threat, but control measures can minimise the risks, say scientists at the Roslin Institute.

University of Edinburgh leads the way on TB diagnostics

View of the Old College of the University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry is leading the way on the paradigm changing, €4.5M project to improve the rapid diagnosis of Tuberculosis.

World Malaria Day 2019: A New Guide to Malaria Pharmacology

On World Malaria Day 2019, a new resource is available for malaria researchers - the Guide to Malaria Pharmacology has been developed in Edinburgh to facilitate identification of new drugs to combat the disease.

On World Malaria Day 2019 - celebrating malaria research at the University of Edinburgh

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

Applications are now open for the 2019 Moredun Foundation Award Scheme

The Moredun Foundation Award Scheme supports individuals to broaden their experience and education in livestock health and welfare.

University of Edinburgh part of VALUE-Dx partnership to fight antimicrobial resistance through diagnostics

The University of Antwerp, bioMérieux and Wellcome Trust announce the launch of VALUE-Dx, an Innovative Medicines Initiative consortium project involving the University of Edinburgh, that will combat antimicrobial resistance and improve patient outcomes.

Sepsis study to focus on genes in quest for treatments

Pioneering research is to focus on the role genes play in determining how likely people are to die from infection in the hope it will speed the search for new medicines.

Children’s noses hold clues to serious lung infections, study shows

Microorganisms in a child’s nose could offer clues to improving the diagnosis and treatment of severe lung infections, research shows.

Gene study at the Roslin Institute set to investigate how flu jumps species

Free range chickens
New study will identify genes that reduce Influenza A infection in pigs and chickens, and genes that limit the spread of the virus to people.

Prof Francisca Mutapi appointed to Strategic Advisory Group of the Global Challenge Research Fund

An Edinburgh scientist has been appointed to a prestigious committee that advises on a £1.5 billion UK Government research fund.

Bid to beat drug resistance boosted by worldwide sewage survey

Efforts to monitor the spread of antibiotic resistance worldwide could be transformed with a map created using data from analysis of sewage samples.

Many congratulations to Edinburgh Infectious Diseases members Sarah Reece and Liz Grant, new Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

The RSE, Scotland’s National Academy, has announced the addition of 62 new Fellows from the worlds of science, health, international development, business, creative arts, technology, law, and public engagement.

Students at the University of Edinburgh discuss antimicrobial resistance during the Festival of Creative Learning

The BEYOND RESISTANCE network organised two very successful workshops discussing antimicrobial resistance during the University of Edinburgh’s Festival of Creative Learning in February 2019.

University of Edinburgh to host new centre of postgraduate training in Biomedical Artificial Intelligence

Postgraduate programmes in artificial intelligence at the University are being supported as part of a package of funding announced by the UK Government.

Edinburgh researchers showcase AMR research in the UK parliament

A group of academics from the University of Edinburgh has taken part in a Q&A highlighting how research is tacking the challenge of AMR in the UK parliament.

Deforestation linked to changes in spread of infectious diseases

Trees in Borneo jungle
Deforestation and land use changes impact the spread of infectious diseases, research suggests.

African experts join forces to beat tropical infectious diseases

Millions of people are set to benefit from four projects that aim to improve health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

University of Edinburgh researchers lead on £2.5 million grant to support appropriate antibiotic prescribing

Professor Aziz Sheikh in the Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics is leading a major new initiative to tackle antibiotic over-prescribing in the UK.

International Veterinary Vaccinology Network has issued new call for funding applications

The calls from the IVVN for Laboratory Exchange Award applications and IVVN Pump-Priming Grant applications are now open. The deadline for all applications is Monday 15 April 2019.

Scottish consortiums take giant leap forward for salmon gill health

Norwegian salmon
Two research consortiums, co-funded by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, will explore diseases affecting farmed salmon and how to prevent them.

Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University awarded £400K to assess novel approach to combatting dengue virus infection

The research has been funded by a grant by the Medical Research Council and the Ristekdikti Government body in Indonesia, where dengue virus is endemic.

Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow to offer joint research schemes for postgraduate students

The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are to launch their first joint postgraduate research programmes in September.

University of Edinburgh to host Fleming Fund fellows from Uganda

In 2019 the University of Edinburgh is looking forward to hosting six fellows from Uganda to study AMR surveillance in human and animals.

New study could explain higher rates of human E. coli infection in Scotland

A subtype of E. coli O157 found in cattle may be responsible for higher rates of severe human infection in Scotland, report suggests.

Congratulations to Edinburgh Infectious Diseases members on excellent publications in autumn 2018!

Biology text books
Researchers from across Edinburgh Infectious Diseases have published a dazzling array pf papers in the past months - take a browse through some of the highlights here!

Decoding sleeping sickness signals could aid quest for treatments

Key insights into how the parasites behind sleeping sickness boost their ability to spread could aid efforts to beat the disease.

"Parasites: Battle for Survival" exhibition opens 6 December 2019 at the National Museum of Scotland

A new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland will explore the fight to eradicate five neglected tropical diseases and the role of research taking place in Scotland to do this.

Gene study by Edinburgh researchers boosts bid to keep British bees safe from disease

Efforts to protect the UK's native honey bees could be helped by research that maps their entire genetic make-up.

University of Edinburgh researcher selected for new PhD Training Programme in AMR

Simone Arienti has been selected for the first ever national PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance which was launched by the Medical Research Foundation this autumn.

Parasite study could aid efforts to treat malaria

Malaria parasites know good times from bad and plan their offspring accordingly, scientists have found, in a development that could inform new treatments.

Dr Tom Kariuki presents Edinburgh Infectious Diseases 2018 Winter Lecture

Dr Tom Kariuki, director of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, spoke to a large audience about the huge opportunities for developing world class research across Africa, and his optimism for the future.

Key gene find by scientists at Edinburgh University could enable development of disease-resistant crops

Field of barley
Discovery of a gene that helps plants control their response to disease could aid efforts to develop crops that are resistant to infection, research suggests.

Vaccine shows promise against widespread chicken disease

Free range chickens
A new vaccine strategy could offer protection to millions of chickens threatened by a serious respiratory disease, according to research by the University’s Roslin Institute.

Antibiotic may selectively kill dangerous skin cancer cells

Drugs on spoon
University of Edinburgh scientists have discovered that an old antibiotic, called nifuroxazide, could also selectively kill dangerous cells within melanomas, the deadliest type of skin cancer.

New study from University of Edinburgh shows Malaria parasites adapt to mosquito feeding times

Malaria parasites have evolved to be most infectious at the time of day when mosquitoes feed, to maximise the chance of being spread, research shows.

Managing Scab in UK Sheep Flocks: There May Be Trouble Ahead

Colleagues from the Moredun Institute receive 2018 Vet Record Award for paper highlighting emerging resistance of sheep scab mites to standard drug treatment.

New Lupus discovery could help manage the disease in African patients

New discoveries about the most common form of the autoimmune disease lupus could improve diagnosis and treatment of the condition in black Africans.

UK-India project combats infections threat with diagnostics

A £3 million interdisciplinary research project is to address the growing threat of drug-resistant infections in India.

Beyond Resistance - Interdisciplinary network to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance

BEYOND RESISTANCE is an interdisciplinary network spanning the arts, sciences and social sciences to investigate, explore and find solutions to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

Many congratulations to our new professors in infectious diseases!

The College of Medicine and Veterninary Medicine has recently announced the appointment of several new chairs in infectious disease research.

Superbug discovery renews hope for antibiotic treatment

Bacteria that were thought to be resistant to a powerful antibiotic may be susceptible to treatment after all, research has found.

Edinburgh to host World One Health Congress in 2020

Edinburgh secures prestigious "World One Health Congress" in 2020, following a competitive bid process.

On World Mosquito Day 2018 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.