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 6 January 2021]

Our policy work on COVID-19 and epidemics is informing key decisions 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 continue to work with our researchers to provide expert advice to Government, stakeholders and the public throughout this pandemic.

In July 2020 we rapidly reviewed how the UK must prepare for a challenging winter with experts and patients, considering the impact of COVID-19 alongside a backlog of people needing NHS help and the possibility of a flu epidemic. As seen in BBC News, Financial Times, The Guardian and more.In April 2020 we rapidly developed COVID-19 mental health and neuroscience research priorities with MQ, published in The Lancet Psychiatry. NIHR used our work to incentivise research proposals in this area and our September joint statement re-emphasised the importance this research. As seen in BBC News, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and more.

In November 2020 we reviewed changes needed to UK diagnostic testing. Our roundtable connected people from NHS, academia, industry and Government to discuss how the UK can learn from the initial testing response and maximise future testing capacity.

In May 2020 we rapidly reviewed key immunology questions for COVID-19 with the British Society for Immunology, helping scientists navigate existing findings and focus on key questions. The British Society for Immunology has since worked with members of our expert group to develop the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium

Our live open-access COVID-19 drug development database is helping scientists identify collaborations, avoid duplication of effort and prioritise the most promising preclinical drug research. Visit the database to share and explore work.

We respond to COVID-19 related parliamentary inquiries, drawing on our Fellowship and key findings from our previous publications. Our responses have provided evidence for consultations on UK research and technology capability and influence, the role of research in the COVID-19 recovery, and workforce burnout in the NHS.

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 practical and ethical oversight needed for this research.Our broader COVID-19 policy work includes convening Academy Fellows to review our work during the pandemic (July 2020) and supporting the THIS Institute's work on ethical frameworks for COVID-19 swab testing of NHS workers. 

We have previously supported high-level responses to other viral outbreaks, such as 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.

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