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£1m awarded for global health research

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have been awarded grants totalling £1m for medical research projects in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

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The grants come from the first £20m tranche of awards from the new Global Challenges Research Fund, funded by the UK’s research councils, which aims to address issues affecting people in LMICs using the UK’s world-class research expertise.

QMUL medical researchers were successful in all three of their applications to the fund, covering malnutrition, tuberculosis and respiratory disease research projects in Africa.

One of the leading causes of deterioration and death in children with severe acute malnutrition is a condition known as ‘malnutrition enteropathy’, where the intestine is unable to exclude bacteria from entering the blood. Professor Paul Kelly will be testing out five novel treatments for the condition in children in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Professor Adrian Martineau will set up a research study in Ethiopia, a country with the tenth highest burden of human tuberculosis in the world. The project will evaluate a new test for dormant TB infection, which is very common in LMICs and has the potential to re-activate to cause the disease.

Along with colleagues at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Professor Jonathan Grigg received funding for the ‘Lung Health In Africa’ study which will be a pan-African platform for health research into non-communicable respiratory disease.

Professor Steve Thornton, Vice Principal (Health) at QMUL’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: “We are delighted with the award of these grants. The funds will help us to continue to apply our world-class research expertise to tackle the ever increasing global research challenges, and improve the health of people in low and middle income countries.”

Declan Mulkeen, the Medical Research Council’s Chief of Strategy said: “It’s encouraging to see these projects tackling the broader environmental and economic factors affecting health, as well as using new technologies to bring cost-effective treatments within reach.

“The Global Challenges Research Fund will enable us to tackle a broader range of health problems, for local and global benefit. These awards represent a significant win for global research. We hope that many of the research partnerships being supported will move on to even more ambitious work over the coming years.”

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