Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The reagent repository will build research capacity for studying influenza viruses, and increase preparedness for the next influenza pandemic.

Multi channel pipette loading biological samples in microplate for test in the laboratory © Shutterstock/angellodeco

Influenza viruses represent a serious and ongoing threat to humans, as well as to many other animal species.

Human influenza is a respiratory infection, which in most years kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world and makes many more unwell, putting major pressures on healthcare services and economies. In addition to this, influenza viruses are unusually effective at creating new pandemics, some of which can be extremely severe. As a result, there remains an ongoing need to study influenza viruses, and in response to this, researchers across three MRC Units have designed a new national resource, the Influenza Virus Toolkit.

The project has received £200,000 funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC), matched with more than £100,000 of in-kind funding from MRC Units. This national virology asset will be led by the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (MRC CVR) and developed in partnership with the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee (MRC PPU), and the MRC Human Immunology Unit (MRC HIU) at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford.

The Influenza Virus Toolkit will be a reagent resource that provides for the long-term storage and low-cost redistribution of influenza virology reagents (specialist materials that researchers require to study how influenza viruses interact with their hosts). Influenza research has a large, active, but dispersed research community. This means that, while many useful influenza reagents have been developed in labs across the UK and around the world, discovering and requesting these reagents can be complicated and time consuming. This slows down open science and research breakthroughs.

The creation of the Influenza Virus Toolkit builds on the strengths of three MRC Units from across the UK. The MRC CVR, MRC PPU and MRC HIU will provide expertise and resources in virology, antibody generation, and immunology, respectively, and the MRC PPU and MRC CVR have established frameworks for sharing non-infectious (MRC PPU) and infectious (MRC CVR) reagents through the MRC Reagents and Services framework and the CVR Reagent Repository.

Dr Graham Campbell, a programme manager at the Medical Research Council, said: “MRC’s units play important national roles in tackling some of our biggest health research challenges. This project is an excellent example of our units taking the lead in developing and making available crucial assets to the national and international research community in studies of human influenza, which has the potential to significantly aid efforts in future pandemic preparedness.”