COVID-19 information hub

As we adapt to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to support the UK's best medical and health researchers and ensure their voices are included in the important decision-making ahead.

[Page last updated 13 October 2020]

Our policy work on COVID-19 and epidemics is informing key decision-makers in the UK and around the world.

Our Fellows are leading the UK scientific response to COVID-19, including Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty FMedSci and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance FMedSci. We will continue to work with our researchers to provide expert advice to Government, stakeholders and the public throughout this pandemic.

In February we published a report on epidemic preparedness with the Medical Research Council and InterAcademy Partnership. Ahead of this report, our Vice President reflected on our readiness for COVID-19.

We rapidly reviewed how the UK must prepare for a challenging winter with experts and patients, considering how the disruption caused by COVID-19 alongside a backlog of people needing NHS assessment and treatment and the possibility of a flu epidemic. As seen in BBC News, Financial Times, The Guardian and more.We rapidly developed COVID-19 mental health and neuroscience research priorities with MQ, which were published in The Lancet Psychiatry. NIHR has since used our work to incentivise new research proposals on the acute mental health effects of the pandemic and in September our joint statement with MQ re-emphasised the importance of making this type of research a priority. As seen in BBC News, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and more.We rapidly reviewed key immunology knowledge gaps for COVID-19 with the British Society for Immunology, helping scientists navigate existing findings and focus on the most important research questions. The British Society for Immunology has since worked with members of our expert group to develop the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium

Our live COVID-19 drug development database is helping scientists identify opportunities for collaboration, avoid duplication of effort and prioritise the most promising preclinical drug research. Visit the database to share your project and browse submitted projects.

We’ve rapidly convened experts on how academia and industry can further support COVID-19 diagnostic testing. The roundtable connected people from NHS, academia, industry and Government to discuss how the UK can learn from the initial testing response in spring 2020 and maximise future testing capacity.

Internationally, we have shared different countries' COVID-19 responses through our collaborative workshop with national academies from low- and middle-income countries, as well as a joint workshop and statement with the Brazilian National Academy of Medicine.

We have previously explored how to rapidly test new vaccines through controlled human infection model studies - where researchers deliberately infect adult volunteers to help understand a disease. Our 2018 workshop with Wellcome and the Human Infection Challenge Vaccine Network discussed the frameworks and oversight for this research.We have previously supported high-level responses to other viral outbreaks, in particular our 2005 report on pandemic influenza and our 2007 follow up with the Royal Society. In 2015, we partnered with Wellcome to explore the use of neuraminidase inhibitors in influenza.

Our broader COVID-19 policy work includes supporting the THIS Institute's work on ethical frameworks for COVID-19 swab testing of NHS workers. 

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