Institute aiming to combat future pandemics launches in Liverpool

A £10 million pandemic research base is being launched with the aim of helping the world prevent, prepare for and respond more effectively to pandemics.

The Pandemic Institute, which is based in Liverpool, is a medical, academic and civic partnership between the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Knowledge Quarter (KQ) Liverpool.

It is launching on Monday and is being funded by a £10 million donation from Innova Medical Group, a rapid antigen test company, and will have its headquarters at The Spine in Paddington Village.

The institute follows a pilot in the city last November of community mass testing, after which coronavirus cases fell by a fifth.

Rapid antigen tests
The institute has been given a £10 million donation from Innova Medical Group, a rapid antigen test company (Zoe Linkson/PA)

Liverpool also hosted several pilot events as part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), which researched how events can take place again while reducing the chances of people contracting coronavirus.

It is hoped the institute will have a global reach and its work will translate into policies and solutions to prevent future pandemics.

Professor Matthew Baylis, director of the institute, said: “The Pandemic Institute has the potential to help revolutionise how the world responds to pandemics.

“Uniquely, it will take a holistic view, from looking at future threats through to the response of communities and the healthcare system as well as treatments such as medicines and vaccines.

“Liverpool is perfectly placed to be the home for the Pandemic Institute – building on the foundations laid so far in the city, and its significant contributions in this field, Liverpool is a global city with expertise in many fields relevant to pandemics, including medical, tropical and veterinary research.

“We appreciate Innova’s support of the Pandemic Institute, and recognise the impact and significance of their generous gift for the city of Liverpool and wider global community.”

Coronavirus vaccine
A coronavirus vaccine is prepared (PA)

Daniel Elliott, chief executive and president of Innova Medical Group, said: “Innova is committed to improving pandemic outcomes globally and we were attracted to Liverpool after being impressed by the unparalleled amount of large-scale pilot research programmes and the guidance on global public health policy that Liverpool provided during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are passionate about supporting organisations that will make a difference and it is clear now that pandemics are the biggest threat to the health of the world’s population, and that is why we are excited to support Liverpool’s partners with the Pandemic Institute, which has the potential to save lives and improve health outcomes for communities across the globe.”