UK’s next generation of medical researchers given funding boost
- £50 million given to 90 charities to fund revolutionary new medical research into diseases such as cancer, dementia and motor neurone disease.
- Over 1,200 early career researchers set to benefit from the funding, sustaining the future of the medical research industry.
- Funding backs PM’s priorities to support the NHS, provide improved treatments and cut waiting lists.
Backlog in NHS genome service leaves families facing long wait for results
- The Guardian reports that families of children with rare genetic disorders are waiting more than a year for genome sequencing results under the Genomic Medicines Service.
- Doctors are warning that these severe backlogs risk endangering children who, in the meantime, cannot access the appropriate treatments or support.
- Moreover, couples seeking to know if their child would inherit a genetic disorder in order to plan future pregnancies are also being made to wait an unacceptably long time.
COVID-19 testing approach from April 2023
- Changes to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing came into effect on 1 April 2023, to ensure testing continues to focus on those at highest risk, enables appropriate clinical treatment and supports the management of outbreaks in high-risk settings including health and social care.
- Included in the changes is stopping routine asymptomatic testing of patients and staff in all health and social care settings.
- PCR testing will continue to be used by the NHS for diagnosis where needed for patients before accessing COVID-19 treatment or for specific personal clinically directed care.
Professor Dame Angela McLean takes up role of Government Chief Scientific Adviser
- Professor Dame Angela McLean DBE FRS takes up the role of Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) after being appointed by the Prime Minister in February.
- She is the first woman to hold the post.
- The role of the GCSA is to provide independent scientific advice to the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet and advise the government on aspects of policy on science and technology.
British Businesses set to benefit from £10 billion boost to UK Export Finance support
- UK Export Finance has been granted an extra £10 billion of capacity to drive more UK exports, raising its maximum exposure limit from £50 billion to £60 billion.
- The additional capacity will ensure the export credit agency’s continued ability to support UK exporters and to deliver on its mission: to advance prosperity by ensuring no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, doing that sustainably and at no net cost to the taxpayer.
UK develops genetic early warning system for future pandemics
- The Respiratory Virus and Microbiome Initiative aims to create a system to deploy DNA sequencing technology to identify all viral, bacterial and fungal species in a single sample collected from a nose swab from a patient.
- This would ensure that genetic changes of respiratory viruses could be monitored as they spread across the globe.
- The British team seeks to make the technology cheap, easy to use with the ability to be scaled up globally.
Dionysus Digital Health Hopes To Be First To Market With Blood Test To Forecast Postpartum Depression (paywall)
- A digital health start-up aims to launch an at-home blood test and AI-driven app this fall that could predict risk of postpartum depression as early as in the third trimester.
Test strip taps smartphone screen to reveal early signs of diabetes
- A modified version of a commercially available test strip for prediabetes, which can lead to development of Type 2 diabetes, can reveal the condition by tapping the screen of any smartphone, according to its developers.
- The GlucoScreen system, developed by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, uses the capacitive touch sensing capabilities of smartphones to measure blood glucose levels without the need for a separate reader.
- Current screening methods typically involve a visit to a healthcare facility for laboratory testing, or the use of a portable glucometer for at-home testing, meaning access and cost can be barriers to more widespread screening.
Science and Technology Secretary travels to Brussels to meet EU Research & Innovation Commissioner
- Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan is meeting European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel in Brussels.
- An introductory meeting will be held to discuss collaboration on research and innovation, including association with Horizon Europe and other EU programmes.