Infectious disease

Our vision is a world in which escalating infectious diseases are under control in the communities most affected. 

Why we're taking on infectious disease  

Infectious diseases are estimated to cause around a quarter of all deaths in the world. The threat of new and re-emerging infectious diseases, drug-resistant infections and future epidemics will likely only add to this figure.

No one knows when or where the next pandemic may start or why certain diseases increase in incidence or evade therapies.

Over the past century, research has led to some extraordinary innovations, from the eradication of smallpox to the development of Covid-19 vaccines in record time. Yet a new infectious disease can still emerge and rapidly cross continents, potentially threatening all our lives. 

For many years, Wellcome has been committed to research in this area. We will bring together our diverse expertise across science, innovation and society to build a world that is better prepared to prevent and eliminate infectious diseases. We will engage globally and work with disadvantaged communities.

Our ambition is to ensure the world is protected against different types of infectious disease, and the threat of disease-escalation now and in the future.

A photograph of the person, Gordon Dougan.

Gordon Dougan

Director, Infectious Disease (Interim) 


What we're doing 

Over the next 30 years, we want to reduce the risk and impact of infectious diseases.

To determine how best to bring diseases under control and stop epidemics, we will support research tackling infectious diseases that are already on the rise and those with the potential to become future epidemics or evade current therapies. We will focus on the most affected communities, recognising that the overall burden of infectious diseases does not pose an equal threat to everyone’s health.

Wellcome funds discovery research into a broad range of disciplines, including infectious diseases. Insights and tools from this research will contribute to solving this health challenge, as well as increasing broader understanding of life, health and wellbeing.

Funded CEPI

the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations – to help fill critical gaps within vaccine funding and R&D

Funded CARB-X

which aims to fill the current shortage of investment by providing up to $500 million over the next five years

$50m investment

to research, develop and bring effective treatments against Covid-19 to market quickly and accessibly by co-founding the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator

What we've done so far 

Effective research and coordinated action can stop infectious diseases from spiralling into global health emergencies. Wellcome has led the research response to Covid-19, as we did for recent Ebola outbreaks in 2014 and 2018, and advocated for policies built on scientific evidence.​​​​​​​

Looking for research funding?

Find out what opportunities we have available for discovery research.

Our team 

  • A photograph of the person, Gordon Dougan.

    Gordon Dougan

    Director, Infectious Disease (Interim) 


See who's in our infectious disease team.

Latest report 

Latest news and opinions