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An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


Set up reserve lab capacity now for faster response to next pandemic, say researchers

Researchers say a ‘human bottleneck’, due to historical cuts in public health funding, delayed the UK’s scale-up of COVID-19 testing in the early stages of the country’s pandemic response.

Medieval monks were ‘riddled with worms’, study finds

Research examining traces of parasites in the remains of medieval Cambridge residents suggests that local friars were almost twice as likely as ordinary working townspeople to have intestinal worms – despite monasteries of the period having far more sanitary facilities. 

Study reveals why highly infectious cholera variant mysteriously died out

A new study reveals why a highly infectious variant of the cholera bug, which caused large disease outbreaks in the early 1990s, did not cause the eighth cholera pandemic as feared – but instead unexpectedly disappeared.

Highly antibiotic-resistant strain of MRSA that arose in pigs can jump to humans

A new study has found that a highly antibiotic-resistant strain of the superbug MRSA – methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus – has emerged in livestock in the last 50 years, probably due to widespread antibiotic use in pig farming.

Superbug MRSA arose in hedgehogs long before clinical use of antibiotics

Scientists have found evidence that a type of the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA arose in nature long before the use of antibiotics in humans and livestock, which has traditionally been blamed for its emergence.

Prehistoric faeces reveal parasites from feasting at Stonehenge

A new analysis of ancient faeces found at the site of a prehistoric village near Stonehenge has uncovered evidence of the eggs of parasitic worms, suggesting the inhabitants feasted on the internal organs of cattle and fed leftovers to their dogs.

Effectiveness of antibiotics significantly reduced when multiple bugs present

A study has found that much higher doses of antibiotics are needed to eliminate a bacterial infection of the airways when other microbes are present. It helps explain why respiratory infections often persist in people with lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis despite treatment.

New grafting technique could combat the disease threatening Cavendish bananas

Scientists have found a novel way to combine two species of grass-like plant including banana, rice and wheat, using embryonic tissue from their seeds. The technique allows beneficial characteristics, such as disease resistance or stress tolerance, to be added to the plants.  

Intensive farming may actually reduce the risk of pandemics

Scientists evaluated the evidence that intensive livestock farming is causing pandemics, with surprising results. They found that intensive livestock farming could actually reduce the risk of future pandemics, compared to non-intensive farming.

Genomic study shows that England’s travel quarantine measures were effective – up to a limit

Fourteen-day quarantine measures imposed on incoming travellers returning to England in summer 2020 helped prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, particularly among 16-20 year olds, say a team led by Cambridge scientists.

Protection of refugee animals is vital to support livelihoods and health

Animals play a central role in many peoples’ lives, and the lifting of veterinary regulations to allow them to be moved to safety during the current humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is unprecedented.

Safeguarding the wonder drugs: How researchers helped change UK farming practices and reduce the rise of antibiotic resistance in livestock.

Research led by Professor Mark Holmes from Cambridge’s Department of Veterinary Medicine has helped to change UK farming practices and reduce the rise of AMR in livestock. Holmes believes that now is the time to stress the positives of good antimicrobial stewardship.

Needle-free vaccine targets COVID-19 variants and future coronaviruses

Safety trials are underway for a Cambridge-led vaccine that could be used as a booster targeting COVID-19 virus variants and relatives that threaten future coronavirus pandemics. The first volunteer is expected to receive the vaccine today at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility.