Ebola research earns grant funding for Brighton academics

Posted On 16 Jun 2015 at 1:56 pm

Brighton University is sharing in a $500,000 (£320,000) American grant to help fight the next outbreak of ebola.

Huw Taylor, the university’s professor of microbial ecology, said: “The current outbreak in West Africa wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last.

“It taught us we weren’t prepared and so we welcome this new investment in research.”

Professor Taylor is working closely to combat the spread of ebola with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Professor Huw Taylor, Dr James Ebdon and PhD student Emanuele Sozzi

Professor Huw Taylor, Dr James Ebdon and PhD student Emanuele Sozzi

The WHO has recorded more than 27,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, the US and Mali.

It said that the epidemic appeared to have stabilised but spikes in new cases in Sierra Leone remained a major concern.

The new research is being funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead government agency working to end extreme global poverty.

Tufts University in Boston will lead the new research and Brighton University scientists in the School of Environment and Technology will receive $140,000.

Working with colleagues at Tufts, the Brighton scientists will be researching ways to reduce the transmission of ebola.

Professor Taylor and James Ebdon will be contributing expert knowledge on human waste disinfection.

Professor Taylor said: “We are very pleased that USAID has recognised the global contribution of the University of Brighton to the challenge of preventing disease transmission in disaster settings.

“Our expertise in emergency sanitation has grown rapidly in recent years following our work in Haiti with Médecins Sans Frontières in response to the devastating 2010 earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak.

“This led the WHO to seek our advice last year on appropriate sanitation responses to the ebola epidemic in West Africa and, as a result, USAID is now asking us to fill some important knowledge gaps in emergency sanitation and hygiene practice.

“This has been very much a team effort and the valuable contribution of PhD student Emanuele Sozzi has been pivotal to the success of our work.”

For more information on the university’s research in this field, go to https://www.brighton.ac.uk/aquatic/research-areas/water-and-wastewater/water-and-wastewater-quality-and-treatment.aspx.

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