The Bishop of Exeter asked a question regarding further funding for a government project to combat avian influenza on 3rd November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Exeter: My Lords, earlier this year, His Majesty’s Government announced the establishment of a new flu map research project, which aims to help us better understand the transmission and spread of avian flu. Along with many others, I welcome the £1.5 million in funding by the Government, but in the light of the severity of this current outbreak, have the Government undertaken an assessment of the need for additional and further funding for this project, mindful of the fact that prevention is better than cure?
Lord Benyon (Con): The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right. Further to that, the previous but one Prime Minister made a commitment at UNGA—the United Nations General Assembly—that Britain will be part of an international effort to tackle zoonotic disease. This is a zoonotic disease although the risk to human health is described by experts as very low. Ultimately, it is the sort of thing for our new zoonotic research capabilities, working with other countries. We must be mindful that we are far from alone in this business. It is a very serious situation right across Europe, the United States and elsewhere. It is in the interest of all countries that we develop a response which deals with this in the long term. I am talking mainly today about the short-term issues that we are tackling but he is absolutely right to raise the matter of the funding that we have put in and the other measures that we are doing, working with countries around the world to make sure we are tackling this and other zoonotic diseases.
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