Image of the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (CDC) - CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / Public domain
The Francis Crick Institute, the UK’s largest discovery biomedical research lab, has offered to support the Government’s efforts to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
In communications with Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, the Crick’s extensive scientific resources and expertise have been offered to assist in the Government’s fight against the Coronavirus pandemic by helping to increase the number of tests that can be conducted by Public Health England and the NHS.
Almost 300 scientists at the Institute with relevant expertise have offered their services to the NHS as volunteers, carrying out essential diagnostic tests in the lab. As demands on PHE’s testing infrastructure continue to grow, their laboratory skills including PCR methods, will be invaluable to assist diagnosis. Crick Clinical Research Director and 2019 Nobel Prize winner Peter Ratcliffe is leading the initiative.
“Our scientists are dedicated to improving health outcomes in the UK and across the world and research progress must continue during this evolving health emergency,” says Paul Nurse, Director of the Crick.
“Impressive numbers of our researchers have already volunteered to assist in the scale-up in testing.”
The Crick’s containment facilities and infrastructure could make the building a valuable central testing location if the Government decides that is the best way forward.
In addition to investigating how a testing facility can be set up at the Crick, vital research into the biology of the virus continues in the building.
Researchers at the Crick
Researchers are investigating how the COVID-19 virus interacts with and replicates within human cells, and how the virus was transmitted from animals to people. This work brings together virologists, geneticists, immunologists and bioinformaticians from across the Crick in efforts to expose the viruses weaknesses and guide the development of potential treatments or vaccines.
“The Crick and other vital research institutions exist to help us understand the fundamental biology underlying our health and disease. And as coronavirus continues to spread, this need has never been greater,” added Paul Nurse.
“Scientific research is an essential pillar of the Government’s COVID-19 strategy and must continue to be throughout this pandemic.”