OXFORD University will hand out medals today to staff who helped combat the devastating Ebola outbreak.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Andrew Hamilton will present 35 workers with the Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa.

Many of them were involved in efforts to find an effective treatment to combat the virus.

A further 39 people will receive a medal specially commissioned by the university. This is to recognise the contribution of those who do not qualify for the UK Government medal due to their nationality or the location where they worked.

University spokesman Tom Calver said: “To qualify for the medal people had to spend 21 days in West Africa or 30 days there non-continuously.”

One of the recipients will be Dr Peter Horby who was among a team of British scientists who went to Liberia to start human drug trials. Dr Horby works at the university’s Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health on the Old Road Campus in Headington.

Last September, Ruth Atkins, from Marcham, became the first person in the world to be injected with a trial Ebola vaccine, at the Churchill Hospital’s Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine.