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The Ebola outbreak was one of the catalysts for PHE to set up the new framework. When it broke out in 2014 there was no up-to-date test for the disease and no way to track it, said Imran Yasin, public health microbiology framework & SRM lead at PHE.
PHE develops new tests and treatments for infectious diseases, ranging from the common flu to Ebola and the Zika virus, which requires close collaboration with many of its suppliers to develop reliable tests on existing equipment, said Yasin.
“You need to know that there are a group of suppliers that would be willing to work with us. Because actually there’s a risk for both parties there because at that point you’re handling Ebola samples on equipment that hasn’t used it before,” he said.
It saw the need for a framework with a broad range of suppliers working on different technologies, and which could be used by PHE if a potential public health risk emerges to find suppliers that have a solution.
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