Public Health England wins award for Ebola & Zika

The Public Health England (PHE) has won the British Expertise International Awards 2018 under “international healthcare project” category for “Fast-track global collaborations to conquer emergencies such as Ebola and Zika”

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PHE’s Senior Business Development Manager Professor S.S. Vasan collected the award on his team’s behalf from HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO. (Photograph © 2018 British Expertise International)

New Delhi: The British Expertise International Awards 2018 under “international healthcare project” category has been awarded to the Public Health England (PHE) for “Fast-track global collaborations to conquer emergencies such as Ebola and Zika”.

Thanking his colleagues who have made such a difference to response to Ebola and Zika crises, PHE’s Senior Business Development Manager Professor S.S. Vasan said, “The aspect of our project we are most proud of is collaborations. It is absolutely essential when you are facing a global emergency like Ebola or Zika that we set aside differences, and we keep the focus on saving lives and working in collaboration with industry, academia and non-profit sector so that the response can be very effective and very quick. Every minute saves lives, literally, in this case.”

PHE previously won the RCUK Impact Awards 2015 for contribution to society for innovative knowledge transfer activities during the Ebola response. They have effectively used the Ebola lessons and partnerships to manage the subsequent Zika crisis better. A key component is the ‘PHE fast track model agreement’ (to be used in evaluating treatment options and providing a coordinated response to any global health  crisis) which has been showcased as best practice by the UK Intellectual Property Office, the US NIH, etc.

For these efforts and leadership, PHE has been selected as the best international project by an eminent and independent panel of experts from a shortlist of equally deserving projects such as Cardiff University’s trauma pack for saving lives in the ‘golden hour’ (1st runner up) and Delivering Procurement Services for Aid (DPSA)’s Free health care initiative in Sierra Leone (2nd runner up).

PHE’s global collaborations on Ebola and Zika also include leading Indian institutions such as the Bengaluru-based Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD). PHE has two joint patents with JNCASR on novel antimicrobial molecules, and has set up a collaborative centre for emergency preparedness and response at RGICD.

“This centre has imparted biosafety training and refresher programmes to 34 frontline doctors, nurses, laboratory and ancillary staff since 2015”, according to Dr Vasan, who is also Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of York.