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Cambridge Infectious Diseases

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Drugs and Vaccines

Vaccines and the discovery of new antimicrobial drugs are one of our most effective means for controlling infectious diseases.

All vaccines rely on one simple principle: give the immune system a head start advantage over the pathogen by teaching it to recognise the pathogen before an actual infection occurs. The immune system then forms a “memory” of the pathogen and can build defences capable of eliminating it and its associated disease during a real infection. They are known to be the safest, most effective way to prevent infectious diseases, and they have enabled the worldwide eradication of many devastating diseases like polio and smallpox. However, vaccines capable of completely protecting against a pathogen as complex as the malaria parasite or TB have never been successfully created, and many logistical and societal challenges to vaccination delivery programmes exist. Here at Cambridge, our researchers are working across disciplines to fast track the scientific discoveries to illuminate fundamental aspects of immunity and responses to infection and examine vaccine delivery and societal challenges and that will enable us to beat these deadly pathogens.

Explore Campus

Work in this area is undertaken in numerous research groups and collaborations across Cambridge, particularly in the Departments of Pharmacology, Pathology, Biochemistry, Veterinary Medicine.

People specializing in this area

Research paves way for the development of a vaccine for the contagious cancer which is driving Tasmanian devils to the brink of extinction.

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Targeting the ‘conversations’ that bacteria have with one another could herald a new generation of therapeutics that curb the virulence of infectious microbes.

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Screening method created to expedite the development of new drugs in the fight against tropical diseases such as malaria and African sleeping sickness.

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Although anti-HIV drugs can significantly prolong life, patients must take the drugs for the rest of their lives. New approaches to therapeutics may hold the answer to finding a cure for HIV.

Cambridge scientists, and their map-making skills, are contributing to an annual worldwide public health endeavour – the race to select a vaccine against seasonal flu.

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Breakthrough could prevent future bird flu epidemics.

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A ‘dipstick’ test that detects Hepatitis B within 30 minutes – and could be used in some of the world’s poorest countries – has been given the green light for use in the European Union.

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A new multidisciplinary research programme aims to develop a single vaccine that will combat four major respiratory pathogens of pigs.

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