Health research in the context of rapidly emerging public-health threats

2015 Stamford Raffles Lecture by
Professor Jeremy Farrar OBE, Director of the Wellcome Trust
Huxley Lecture Theatre, ZSL London Zoo

The recent Ebola outbreak highlights the serious threat that emerging infectious diseases can pose to global public health.  Despite years of apparent preparations for a devastating pandemic, responses to outbreaks are cumbersome and delayed, and opportunities to save lives are missed. 

Over the past 15 years, the failure to systematically collect and share clinical data during epidemics, including zoonotic viruses such as SARS, H5N1, Nipah, and MERSCoV, has been a recurring problem.  Understanding the interrelationships between human behaviour, animal health and the environment is essential for mobilising successful responses to future spillover events. 

Drawing on his experience as Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, Professor Farrar will discuss the need for comparable data across the broad health agenda.  In the context of rapidly emerging public health threats, a new paradigm for health governance and health research is needed to bring epidemics to a faster conclusion; one that is appropriate for the challenges we face in the 21st century.  

Jeremy Farrar is Director of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds. Jeremy was appointed OBE in 2005 for services to Tropical Medicine and is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

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Scanning electron micrograph, coronavirus, linked to SARS (Wellcome Images)


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