The unit – the first of its kind that Oxford has developed in the Americas – will work on developing new drugs and vaccines to drive ongoing human health research. It will also focus on training a new generation of clinical researchers by offering Master’s, PhD studentships and courses in infectious diseases, clinical development and vaccinology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the risk of life-threatening infectious diseases into sharp focus, and both the University and their Brazilian counterparts initially aim to drive research to better prepare and respond to health risks by focussing on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments before potentially branching out into other clinical areas.
The unit is also a culmination of a strong relationship the University has built with Brazilian researchers during the pandemic.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard said: 'Brazilian researchers and the public of Brazil made an extraordinary contribution to the clinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, with more than 10,000 volunteers taking part. We are delighted to forge stronger links with the local research teams to improve human health under the leadership of Professor Clemens.'
The UK Government supports the establishment of an Oxford-Brazil collaborative centre for research and training in Brazil, while other prestigious institutions such as the University of Siena’s Institute for Global Health and International Vaccines Institute in South Korea are also partners.
Marcelo Queiroga, the Brazilian Minister of Health, said: 'This collaboration between leading Brazilian researchers and the team at the University of Oxford behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is a major step forward in ensuring we are better prepared for future health threats and train the next generation of experts across our nations.'