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We are now all familiar with what a pandemic looks like ‑ but how do scientists on the ground respond to an emergency outbreak situation? How does human behaviour influence public health emergencies? How are scientists able to diagnose diseases? Join us to learn the answers to these questions (enjoying a good pint alongside is optional but recommended!).
The Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory: What not to bring back from holiday
Kit Withycombe (Scientist)
The Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL) is the counties centre of diagnosis for viruses that you’d rather not catch on holiday as well as some of the rarer pathogens lurking in the UK. Viruses like Ebola, Zika and Dengue are tested for here as well as bacteria like anthrax, Lyme, and plague. The wide array of organisms required a wide arrange of tests including looking for genetic material of the pathogen (PCR), looking for antibodies against the organism (ELISA, IFA, immunoblot), or looking for the organism itself (culture).
Rapid Support Team – deploying in response to emergency outbreaks
Ben Gannon (Health Protection Scientist)
In the wake of the Ebola crisis in West Africa and other recent disease outbreaks around the world, a need for a specialist team of public health experts who could respond rapidly was identified. Learn more about how the UK’s Public Health Rapid Support Team prepare for outbreak requests, how they deploy within 48 hours of an international request and what they do on the ground. We will also see how they are strengthening the evidence base to aid epidemic preparedness globally and how they are working to build capacity within the countries they work with.
Understanding the “how” and “why”: The role of behavioural science in public health emergency response
Dale Weston (Behavioural Scientist)
Human behaviour plays a crucial role in the way that we respond to public health emergencies. For example, we know that human behaviours are absolutely critical for reducing the spread of COVID-19. The role of behavioural scientists in public health response is therefore to try to understand the factors that influence risky or protective behaviours in order to maximise positive health outcomes. In this talk, I’ll give an overview of some of my work on public health emergency response (with a focus on COVID-19) and will discuss what behavioural science is and how it can help protect health.