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The UK’s efforts to tackle the monkeypox outbreak will receive a huge boost with the creation of a new research consortium – in which the University of Oxford is a key partner – working together to develop better diagnostic tests, identify potential therapies and study vaccine effectiveness.

Artist's impression of the monkeypox virus

The consortium will be led by the Pirbright Institute and the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, but researchers from across University of Oxford will play a key role.

Professor Miles Carroll’s group, based at the Pandemic Sciences Institute and the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, will be working with consortium colleagues on the development of a lateral flow device (LFD) for the rapid point of care diagnosis of monkeypox virus (MPXV). As MPXV infection can be confused with other common diseases, a reliable rapid diagnostic device would greatly benefit the public health response.

Professor Tao Dong’s group will lead in the understanding of T cell responses to the virus. T cells are an integral part of the immune response to viral infections and required for clearance of the virus, as well as providing long-lasting protection through the generation of memory cells. Prof Dong and her team, based at both the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences-Oxford Institute at the Nuffield Department of Medicine and MRC Human Immunology Unit at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, will work to understand the cross-reactivity of existing T cells elicited in response to the smallpox vaccine against monkeypox infection, as well as characterising the T cell responses elicited by monkeypox infection.

Read the full story on the Nuffield Department of Medicine website