At the Crick, our world-leading research expertise, facilities and flexibility put us in a unique position to help tackle COVID-19.
Our scientists have set aside their research programmes to focus on finding answers to fundamental questions about the coronavirus, from how it spreads between animals and humans to why it’s deadly in some people but causes no symptoms in others. This work will guide the development of new tests, vaccines, treatments and clinical strategies to help bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
Scientific research will ultimately lead us out of this crisis. But in the short term, testing is critical for containing the spread of the virus, which is why we’ve transformed some of our laboratories into a testing centre for NHS staff and patients.
With our focus on scientific excellence and with multidisciplinary collaboration at our core, here at the Crick we’re ideally placed to drive progress in tackling diseases like COVID-19.
By donating to the Crick, you will ensure we have the necessary resources and agility to respond to the areas of greatest need as we protect our research programmes and tackle the spread of COVID-19. All donations, no matter what size, will enable us to continue this vital work.
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Tackling COVID-19 at the Francis Crick Institute
We have repurposed our lab space and staff expertise to become a coronavirus testing facility for NHS staff and patients, working in partnership with UCLH and the Health Services Laboratory. In order to increase testing capacity across the country, the Crick has made its standard operating procedures publicly available and is providing guidance on testing protocols to other research centres and institutes.
Caetano Reis e Sousa and his team are testing diagnostic kits, including one new tool that could provide a result in 25 minutes. The team are comparing the accuracy of the new test to the conventional test to see if it could be rolled out more widely.
Crick scientists are working with UCLH and UCL on an initiative to develop antibody testing, which would show if people have ever been infected with the virus, rather than just testing whether they currently are infected with the virus.
Crick group leader Adrian Hayday is leading a team from the Crick, King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital. The multidisciplinary team are studying how patients' immune systems respond to the virus to understand why some people show no symptoms, while others have to be hospitalised and require critical care.
Clinical group leader Samra Turajlic is working with Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to determine the impact of the pandemic on cancer patients.
Rupert Beale, his group at the Crick and collaborators at the Roslin Institute are using gene editing techniques to study how the virus interacts with human cells, and identify which genes the virus needs to survive.
Andreas Wack's group study respiratory infections and are testing possible anti-inflammatory treatments that could be effective against COVID-19.
Paul Bates has joined forces with supercomputing firm Hadean to contribute to their mathematical models of virus transmission, tracking how viruses move within and between cities.
Steve Gamblin's group are using cryo-electron microscopy to study a structure on the surface of the virus, answering questions about how the virus interacts with our cells and how it made the leap from animals to humans. Steve’s work contributed critical understanding about the biology of the H1N1 virus strain that caused the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
Paul Nurse quote
We wanted to use our facilities and expertise to help, and we are proud to be able to support NHS staff on the front line who are battling this virus.