New President of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Professor Dame Anne Johnson is the new Academy of Medical Sciences President. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy in 2001 and has had a distinguished career in epidemiology and public health, working on topics including HIV/AIDS, influenza and diagnostics for infectious diseases. Her contribution to many high-profile advisory groups in the UK and internationally is recognised, including as Chair of the UK Committee for Strategic Coordination of Health of the Public Research (SCHOPR). Created a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, she is currently Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at University College London and Co- Director of UCL Health of the Public.

Possiblereasons for successful cross-species viral spread

Infectious disease emergence is often the result of a pathogen entering a new host species, as highlighted by the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. However, most cross-species transmissions fail to establish in the newly-infected species. In a new study entitled ‘Virulence mismatches in index hosts shape the outcomes of cross-species transmission’ (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2020 Oct 29; 202006778. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2006778117. Online ahead of print), led by a team of researchers at the University of Glasgow, scientists found disease progression was accelerated, which reduced the chances of onward transmission, when the original host and the new host were physiologically or genetically more dissimilar. The researchers analysed hundreds of published infection experiments involving the transfer of rabies virus – a dangerous pathogen able to infect and cause death in all mammals – from one host species to another. They found that rabies virus strains originating in bats – and those transferred from species with warmer body temperatures to those with a cooler

body temperature – tended to kill the first infected host too fast for successful onward transmission. The same was true as the genetic distance between the original and infected host species increased.

Professor Dame Anne Johnson said: “It is an absolute honour to be elected President of the Academy of Medical Sciences at a time when medical research couldn’t be more crucial to people’s heath in the UK and globally. “The pandemic has reminded us all just how precious our health and wellbeing is and has highlighted the importance of independent evidence, and integration of the clinical, public health, social and discovery science responses to a health and societal challenge of unprecedented scale in our lifetime.

“My priorities will include promoting

research excellence and collaboration which extends across geography and background, improving research culture and careers so everyone can thrive, ensuring global collaboration continues to flourish after we have left the EU, and helping UK research recover from the significant setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Calibre Scientific acquires UK-based diagnostics company Lorne Laboratories

Calibre Scientific has acquired UK-based Lorne Laboratories, a specialty manufacturer of blood grouping reagents and diagnostic test kits, and a distributor of related laboratory equipment, enzymes and biochemicals. Lorne’s catalogue services governments, blood transfusion professionals, and hospital laboratories in over 100 countries, and is an established critical partner of the UK’s National Health Service.

“Blood typing is critical to the medical field, ensuring the safety of recipients during blood transfusions,” said Dr Mike Brownleader. “Calibre Scientific has made the support of COVID research efforts a priority on a global scale. With more of our partners sharing an interest in the clinical and medical segments of life science, we believe Lorne’s specialisation in blood grouping reagents will be a key addition to our growing core diagnostics catalogue.”

WWW.PATHOLOGYINPRACTICE.COM DECEMBER 2020 Eddy Velthuis (Chief Technical Officer

at Lorne Laboratories) said: “Lorne has always endeavoured to provide, and succeeded in providing, the highest quality blood grouping reagents that comply with all necessary regulatory requirements. We’re excited to join forces with a premier life sciences company in Calibre Scientific to expand our reach and offerings.” Ben Travis (CEO of Calibre Scientific)

said: “World-class quality and customer satisfaction have established Lorne as a reliable partner to their customers and the medical community at large. These same principles are at the core of our business. With the addition of Lorne, we will bolster our diagnostics division and expand our expertise. It is our aspiration to uphold Lorne’s high standards and lift them even higher as we incorporate them into our global team.”


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