22 April 2024

New vaccine lab opens at Porton Down

At Porton Down, scientists are working hard to stop the next big bug from spreading. They want to be ready in case a new germ shows up.

They work in a new laboratory, the Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre. They’re building on what they learned from COVID-19 to keep us safe and avoid lockdowns.

Prof Dame Jenny Harries, who leads the scientists, says COVID-19 isn’t the only problem. She knows more germs could come, and they want to be ready.

Changes in the weather and how we live can make new germs. That’s why they’re studying this at Porton Down. They say we’re facing a higher risk of sickness.

At the site just outside of Salisbury, they will study many diseases and illnesses. They are already studying things like Ebola to understand them better.

They’re working on a vaccine for a fever that comes from ticks.

The laboratory has been put together quickly after the COVID pandemic in the hope that the next ‘super bug’ can be dealt with better than before.

The vaccine research centre is focusing on three types of threats:

  • known infections that are getting harder to deal with, such as antibiotic-resistant superbugs
  • potential threats that might cause a problem, including bird flu and new Covid variants
  • and “Disease X” – something unforeseen, like Covid, which takes the world by complete surprise

The team there will work across borders and with private pharmaceutical companies, bringing together the best scientists to solve current and future issues.

Written by
Andy Munns
View all articles
Written by Andy Munns