Govt study to assess impact of climate change on AMR and pandemics

The government has announced up to £56m in funding for research into the potential health effects of climate change, including air pollution, antimicrobial resistance and global pandemics.
Climate change leads to more extremes of hot and cold weather, which can have a serious impact on the health of the nation. Pollution can cause chronic conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer, leading to reduced life expectancy.

Universities in England are invited to apply to be selected to partner with Public Health England (PHE) to form the next wave of Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs) funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). An open competition will be held to select the most promising research proposals from academics. They will be funded from April 2020 to March 2025.

Health minister Nicola Blackwood says air pollution is a key issue that must be tackled. "We’ve just seen the warmest February day on record and we have a duty to the public to consider the health challenges climate change brings.

"All of our successes to date would have been impossible without world-leading research conducted by some of the best minds at outstanding research hubs up and down the country. This new investment, as part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS, will unlock further solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the health and care system over the next 5 years, aiming to drastically improve all of our lives."

The current HPRUs played a central role in responding to major events including the Novichok, Ebola and overseas terror incidents. In 2017 to 2018, the HPRUs were involved in 413 studies and 514 peer review publications. They supported a total of 254 PhD students and secured £50m in funding from other sources.

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