Legacy study

The Legacy Study is a collaboration between the Crick and the University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre studying immune responses to COVID-19.


The Legacy Study was initially established in February 2021 to build on the bank of data generated by the Crick COVID Consortium in the early months of the COVID pandemic. It's now a partnership study between University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre and the Crick providing insights into immune responses to COVID vaccines and infections led by Dr Emma Wall.

In March 2020, the Francis Crick Institute, University College Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Health Services Laboratories worked together to set up a COVID-19 PCR testing service in less than two weeks. Within months, the service was routinely testing nine NHS hospitals, 98 care homes, four research institutes and a mental health trust. 

When the Legacy Study was established, the Crick was already home to a bank of more than 400,000 samples gathered as part of the routine testing service. These samples from London's key workers formed a unique bank of information on SARS-CoV-2.

As routine testing continued, the Crick eventually carried out more than 680,000 tests. While the main goal was helping to keep essential workplaces safe, the bank of samples used in the Legacy Study also grew. Researchers are tracking the emergence of new variants, and studying how immune responses change over time after vaccination or infection.

The study currently has 800 adult under prospective follow-up, and includes recipients of all COVID vaccines licensed in the UK. 82% of the group have had a COVID infection during the course of the study.

The bank of samples and methodologies developed by the Legacy Study, COVID Surveillance Unit and Worldwide Influenza Centre are now also being used to study COVID immunology, long COVID, and the effectiveness of treatments like monoclonal antibodies against new variants. The data is also helping to evaluate the impact of COVID on immunocompromised people, including people with multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and dialysis patients. 

The Legacy Study is part of the Wellcome-supported WWW Consortium, studying COVID across Ghana, the West Indies and London.

Legacy in numbers

680,000 PCR tests
800 participants under follow-up
10 references in new COVID policy
940 citations to publications
421 mentions in the press

Peer-reviewed publications from the Legacy Consortium