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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 23:32 GMT 00:32 UK
Scientists' bid to stop bird flu
The scientists aim to develop new drugs to combat bird flu
A group of Scottish scientists are joining forces to try to stop the growing threat of bird flu.

A centre of excellence, based at Edinburgh University, will be at the forefront of global efforts to prevent an avian flu pandemic in the future.

The 4.3m research laboratory, which opens later this year, will draw together experts from the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.

The scientists aim to develop new therapeutic drugs.

Biologists, virologists and epidemiologists will also work together on new treatments for human flu.

Scientists will use super-computers to predict changes in the virus, create models of outbreak scenarios and carry out research into the causes of the disease and the factors that lead to its spread.

Welsh discovery

Worldwide, millions of birds have been slaughtered and there have been more than 170 human deaths from the H5N1 strain.

The centre - which is being funded by Scottish Funding Council and the universities - will be the first of its kind in Britain.

On Thursday it was confirmed that the H7N2 strain of bird flu had been found in chickens in Wales.

The more virulent strain is H5N1.

The Scottish Executive said it was monitoring the situation closely and was keeping the poultry industry well informed of the developing situation.

They asked poultry owners to remain vigilant for signs of the disease and to report any suspicions to the local animal health office.


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