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Leading infectious disease expert John Edmunds awarded OBE

5 January 2016

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Professor John Edmunds, Dean of Faculty of Epidemiology & Population Health, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list for his services to infectious disease control.

Prof Edmunds is a leader in the field of disease modelling and analysis. Using a mixture of mathematical models and statistical and economic analysis, his team improve our understanding of how diseases spread. This enables health officials and governments to make successful and cost-effective public health decisions.

The official citation for the honour praises Prof Edmunds for his 'Services to infectious disease control particularly the Ebola crisis response in West Africa.'

Prof Edmunds' team provided real-time analysis and modelling of case numbers during the recent Ebola epidemic, which helped inform decisions by governments and NGOs about the number of treatment beds that were needed and the effectiveness of different policies.

His team also helped design the trial conducted in Guinea which assessed the effectiveness of the experimental Ebola vaccine VSV-ZEBOV. The trial was a success, with the vaccine proven to be safe and providing a high protection against the disease as early as ten days after vaccination. The research was a runner-up in Science's Breakthrough of the Year competition, with the renowned journal stating it could be a 'potential game changer in future outbreaks'.

Prof Edmunds said: "I am thrilled to receive this wonderful award. I would like to pay tribute to my research group, who were truly magnificent during the Ebola crisis. This recognition is really down to them and I am extremely grateful and proud to work with such a fantastic team."

The School's Director, Professor Peter Piot said: "Many congratulations to John on receiving this richly deserved honour. His vital work is helping scientists and policymakers gain a greater understanding of how some of the world's most serious diseases spread. John and his team worked tirelessly to provide immediate analysis and modelling of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and played a pivotal role in the successful testing of the vaccine SV-ZEBOV - truly life-saving research."

Other work by Prof Edmunds includes the Flusurvey project (the UK's biggest crowd-sourced study of influenza), analysis of HPV vaccination policy in the UK, and analysis of the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

Before joining the School Prof Edmunds was the Head of the Modelling and Economics Unit at the Health Protection Agency, now called Public Health England. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles in his field and has acted as an advisor on national and international committees, on topics ranging from HPV vaccination to pandemic influenza.

Related links:

Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases