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The Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood this week announced that the UK has a specialist team of health experts ready to be deployed to tackle outbreaks of deadly disease anywhere in the world within 48 hours.

Disease outbreak team

The UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (PHRST) will be on call to respond to urgent requests from countries around the world and fly in to help tackle disease outbreaks at source. The University of Oxford epidemic diseases research group, led by Professor Peter Horby, is providing the clinical research capabilities of the PHRST.

Professor Horby said: “Our epidemic diseases research group has unparalleled experience of conducting clinical research on major emerging and epidemic infectious diseases, from SARS and bird flu to Ebola. We are delighted to be part of this new team because it integrates public health and research, and it recognises the critical role of science in delivering rapid and reliable evidence to improve the care of patients and the control of outbreaks."