Health

Medical innovations get £18m funding

A flu vaccine Image copyright DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Image caption The "ultimate" flu vaccine is being developed at Oxford University

Development of a universal flu vaccine and a home testing kit for lung infections are among 12 projects to have received backing from an £18m fund for medical innovation.

The Medical Research Council contributed £13m to the fund and government body Innovate UK put in £5m.

The funding allows companies and universities to develop technology to tackle major health problems.

The Medical Research Council said the fund was backing "exceptional science".

The successful projects include a device that patients can use at home to check for lung infections caused by bacteria and fungi.

The device could help minimise lung damage and improve the quality of life of patients with chronic lung diseases.

It also promises to reduce unnecessary prescription of antibiotics by GPs.

The project, led by Glasgow-based Ohmedics, received £759,000 in funding.

Wound dressing

Oxford University was awarded nearly £700,000 for the development of the "ultimate" flu vaccine which attacks the core of the virus rather than one particular strain, which is always changing and evolving.

Researchers at Bath University developing a wound dressing for burns which detects infections won funding of more than £900,000.

The project leader, Dr Toby Jenkins, said the award would allow his team to design, manufacture and package a final prototype dressing, "safe and ready for trial in humans".

The chief executive of the Medical Research Council, Sir John Savill, said the awards were a demonstration of the "exceptional science" coming out of the UK.

Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman, who announced the awards, said: "The UK's healthcare industry has a worldwide reputation for excellence.

"By providing early support to these latest treatment and diagnosis developments, we are not only going to potentially help improve or save lives, we are helping businesses grow and boost the UK's productivity."

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