Our COVID-19 response
At the Crick, our research expertise, facilities and flexibility put us in a unique position to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. We rapidly transformed labs into testing facilities, and our scientists have been working to answer fundamental questions about the virus.
Crick researchers are working at the forefront of the scientific response to answer some of the most urgent questions about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
We're collaborating in multidisciplinary teams, with researchers, clinicians and others to help answer key questions about coronavirus:
- How can we compare and improve testing methods?
- Why are some cases so much worse than others?
- How does the virus interact with our cells?
- How is coronavirus evolving and being transmitted?
- How is coronavirus affecting people who are already ill?
Working with University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust and its diagnostic partner Health Services Laboratories (HSL), we rapidly repurposed our labs using in-house equipment and skills, and opened a drive-through testing service.
This allowed us to continue our research and help keep frontline healthcare staff, NHS patients, and care home residents and staff safe. Between April 2020 and July 2021 we completed hundreds of thousands of tests, supporting 10 hospitals and 150 care homes.
We continue to provide test for our staff, and people at Wellcome and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
The CRICK COVID-19 Consortium has worked with Cancer Research UK, NHS England and the Department for Health and Social Care to share our testing protocols and learning from our experiences so it can be replicated.
The consortium has published its SOPs to provide a step-by-step approach to set up a diagnostic pipeline in an academic institute in collaboration with partner laboratories and hospital trusts.
In January 2021, we partnered with UCLH to deliver a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination centre at the Crick. The centre was in the gallery space on our ground floor.
The centre had capacity to vaccinate up to 1,000 people a day, seven days a week. It was overseen by UCLH and staffed by people from the NHS, alongside volunteers from the Crick and its partners, who all received NHS training in safely administering vaccines.
More than 300 Crick staff volunteered their time to help with the vaccination programme and more than 80,000 vaccinations were given at the centre before its closure in August 2021.