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DoH prioritises swine flu research

24th August 2009

Projects focussed on researching swine flu in the UK have been fast-tracked by the Department of Health (DoH).

Some 14 research projects with a total cost of GBP 2.25 million have been prioritised by the National Institute for Health and Research (NIHR) on behalf of the DoH.

It is hoped that this will help to inform the government's response to the virus in the coming months.

One study, being led by Professor Jonathan Nguyen Van-Tam of the University of Nottingham, will consider how long a swine flu sufferer is contagious for.

Mr Nguyen Van-Tam explained that 'very little is currently known' about the virus, making it hard to predict the number of people likely to catch it.

He said: 'We do not know how long the virus is excreted by infected humans and how much virus is spread to surfaces and carried in the air.'

The government has set up a National Pandemic Flu Service to offer advice to those with flu-like symptoms.

A website and a helpline are available to sufferers, who are offered some diagnosis over the phone.

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