The Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections is funded by the UK's National Institute of Health and Social Care Research (NIHR). The overarching aim of our Unit is to support and strengthen the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in its role of protecting the UK from emerging and zoonotic infections. By bringing together internationally leading researchers at the University of Oxford, University of Liverpool (UoL), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and the UKHSA, we exploit the synergy, world-class facilities, and depth in relevant research between these institutions.

The HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections was established in 2014 and was renewed in 2020. The start of our 2nd programme coincided with the unprecedented outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Directors took the decision to divert HPRU efforts to support the national front line response as well as global research efforts. HPRU-funded projects early in the pandemic were able to conduct vital initial studies into the virus. This ground-breaking research secured further funding to gain a better understanding of the genetic risk factors, identify potential treatments and analyse the dynamics of policy development.