Additional information from the Biotechnology
and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
1. BBSRC is the principal UK funder of research
across the biosciences. This includes a number of areas of relevance
to this inquiry, including the fundamental biology of viruses;
host-pathogen interactions; control of infectious diseases in
animals; and zoonotic diseases. Between 2001 and 2004 BBSRC research
funding directly on influenza totalled £1.8 million: including
responsive-mode research grants, Core Strategic Grant (CSG) to
BBSRC-sponsored Institutes, and studentships. The primary focus
is on basic research aimed at advancing our knowledge of the virus
and its interactions with host animals, both avian and mammalian.
2. Also, BBSRC's Advisor for Animal Health,
Professor Paul-Pierre Pastoret, keeps a watching brief on developments
regarding Avian Influenza through OIE and FAO.
3. BBSRC provides CSG funding to seven Research
Institutes, these also receiving some support from other organisations.
The Institutes are instrumental in the delivery of long-term,
strategic research for BBSRC. Together with BBSRC scientists at
UK universities they provide a focal point for research and a
critical mass of expertise that can be called upon to give independent
advice to Government: they are also an important national capability
that can be brought to bear on issues of concern.
4. The Institute for Animal Health (IAH)
and Roslin Institute (RI) both have programmes of relevance to
pandemic influenza research:
- IAH receives the majority of the CSG
funding in this area. It operates a programme specifically investigating
influenza biology and the response of avian hosts to infection;
- Through RI, BBSRC are at the forefront
of efforts to sequence the chicken genome. The results of these
efforts will help to identify factors involved in host-pathogen
interactions and may enable the development of novel vaccines,
antiviral drugs and new strategies to control avian flu.
5. IAH and RI are submitting a separate
response to the inquiry.
OF BBSRC FUNDING
6. BBSRC's funding of research into the
control of infectious diseases, including influenza, includes
epidemiology and the dynamics of infection. In these and other
areas BBSRC is positioned to provide funding to enhance our knowledge
of disease processes through the study of fundamental biology
of the virus and host. This is important for a long-term strategy
for reducing the threat of pandemic influenza.