With much of the research work carried out at Moredun traditionally revolving around the mantra of “prevention is better than cure”, the research institute on the outskirts of Edinburgh has found itself centre stage in the new push to reduce the reliance of both animal and human medicines on antibiotics and other anti-microbials.
The centre’s scientific director and chief executive, Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, said that any major reduction in the use of such drugs would require greater development of other means of controlling diseases.
She said that the testing and development of vaccines and their method of delivery had been a key area of work since Moredun had first been set up, and while the discipline wasn’t a “magic bullet” – and had to be considered alongside diagnostics, genetics and nutritional considerations – it would play a key role in future disease control measures.
“And this will significantly increase the pressure and hopefully the funding from national and international bodies to support work in this area,” she said.
Fitzpatrick also revealed that, while considerable effort had gone into drawing up their funding plans for the next five years for submission to the Scottish Government, the fact that the institute also received income from research work carried out for commercial companies – and from rental coming from the Pentlands Science Park – helped it retain a greater degree of independence than many other establishments.
She also revealed that as less than 50 per cent of Moredun’s funding now came from the Scottish Government, it was able to bid for UK funding from awarding bodies.