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Celebrating five years of the APHA Science blog!

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Letters spelling out the words 'happy birthday' pinned to a wooden background.
Happy 5th birthday APHA Science Blog

It has been another busy year for the APHA Science blog. 130+ blogs later and we now find ourselves celebrating five years of posting blogs that highlight the breadth of our science and showcase the depth of our scientific expertise.

We have seen many changes to the way we work in science at APHA over the past year and, as you will have read, our scientists and dedicated support staff have shown great flexibility and dedication when called to support the national testing response in the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this pull on resource, we have continued to maintain business as usual, whilst also responding to an exceptionally high number of avian influenza cases and helping Defra to prepare for our exit from the European Union. This was highlighted in our contribution to the recent article on the Government Vets blog site.  Please use the embedded link to access this blog.

We have shared some of our success stories with you throughout the year, which I hope you have enjoyed reading. Now, as has become tradition, here is a reminder of our ten most popular blogs during this time.

Our scientists help with COVID-19 testing at the UK Biocentre in Milton Keynes

Female scientist wearing a face mask, goggles and white protective suit using a pipette.
APHA’s Sonya Middleton pipetting swab samples manually

In this blog Lucia Biffar, Scientific Project Manager for the Animal and Plant Health Agency, talked about her experiences volunteering with a group of APHA scientists to work at one of the national coronavirus testing centres.

A new approach to COVID-19 testing

APHA, in collaboration with the University of Southampton, developed and trialed an alternative testing approach to detect COVID-19 infections in people, using saliva rather than swabs. Learn about the process and benefits to using this approach for testing in this interesting five minute read.

APHA provides science evidence quickly leading to the first detection of bird 'flu' in the United Kingdom

2020 saw the earlier than expected arrival of highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza virus which is infecting both wild birds and poultry on small holdings and commercial production units. Find out how APHA detects and reacts to a bird ‘flu outbreak in the United Kingdom.

APHA celebrates the work of our female scientists on International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021

This year, we highlighted the range of roles and opportunities available to women in science. An accompanying video featured a selection of our female scientists explaining their roles and why APHA is a great place to work.

The threat of the Asian hornet

Asian hornets are a non-native invasive predator, posing a serious threat to our native pollinators. To mark Asian Hornet week, this blog explains the work APHA do in controlling this threat and what you should do if you spot one.

Green light for cattle bovine TB vaccine field trials

Image of a black and white cow with ear tags looking at the camera
APHA is providing an invaluable addition to the toolbox to eradicate bovine TB in the UK

In the first of a series of blogs, read about our Cattle Vaccine Project: APHA’s invaluable addition to the toolbox to eradicate bovine TB in the UK.

COVID-19 testing: the scientists behind the scenes

We have all become used to hearing in the news about COVID-19 infection numbers, but have you ever wondered about the scientists behind the scenes, testing samples and providing these all-important results? We revealed more in this blog.

The plant detectives: no such thing as an average day

No matter what the weather has in store for them, Plant Health and Seed Inspectors Laura Chapman and Natalie Vallone have an important job to do. Learn about their roles in our second and final blog marking Plant Health Week 2020.

One Health: Virology in action

The coronavirus pandemic has only highlighted the importance of having scientific experts who can quickly provide advice and evidence for new strains of animal viruses that can transfer into humans and cause severe disease due to the lack of protective immunity against the pathogen. In this blog, marking World Zoonoses Day, we heard from Dr Sharon Brookes, Lead Scientist for the Animal and Zoonotic Viral Diseases Portfolio as she described the important range of work her science portfolio undertakes.

COVID-19 confirmed in pet cat in the UK

Close-up image of a grey cat's blue eyes
Scientists at APHA Weybridge confirmed COVID-19 in a domestic cat in June 2020

In June 2020, APHA scientists confirmed the UK’s first COVID-19 positive test result in a domestic cat. Learn more about this case and the wider work of APHA in preparing for COVID-19 cases in animals in the UK.

What is coming up?

We work hard all year round to publish blogs that you will find interesting to read and have a calendar full of blog ideas for the coming year. This includes our annual blogs to mark World Rabies Day and International One Health Day and more features on our scientific specialisms that support the Agency’s mission to safeguard animal and plant health for the benefit of people, the environment and economy. Be sure to check back soon for new stories.

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Getting to know you.

We would like to get to know our audience better so we have put together a two minute survey for you to tell us about your interests so we can continue to provide stories you would like to read.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Hannah Newbold posted on

    Congratulations on 5 years blogging! So good to read about all the amazing science work being carried out at APHA. I look forward to reading more.