Researchers in Veni Papayannopoulos's lab working on the COVASE clinical trial, part of our COVID-19 research.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) response

The Francis Crick Institute wants to do all we can to help tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Scientists and staff across the Crick have set aside their normal work to volunteer expertise and facilities for testing and research, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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At the Crick, our world-leading research expertise, facilities and flexibility put us in a unique position to help tackle COVID-19. We have rapidly transformed labs into testing facilities, and our scientists have refocussed research efforts to answer fundamental questions about the coronavirus. 

Scientists around the world have redirected their work towards COVID-19, so collaboration and sharing are more important than ever. This work will help guide the development of new tests, vaccines, treatments and clinical strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our COVID-19 response

COVID-19 research

COVID-19 research

The COVID-19 outbreak requires a concerted research effort that draws on a range of different disciplines. Crick researchers are working at the forefront of the scientific response to answer some of the most urgent questions about the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen and COVID-19, the infection it causes.

We're collaborating in multi-disciplinary teams, with researchers, clinicians and others to help answer key questions about coronavirus:

  1. How can we compare and improve testing methods?
  2. Why are some cases so much worse than others?
  3. How does the virus interact with our cells?
  4. How is coronavirus evolving and being transmitted?
  5. How is coronavirus affecting people who are already ill?
Our research

How can we find new drugs to treat COVID-19?

COVID-19 testing

Reliable testing is essential to trace and contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (coronavirus disease).

Working with local partners, we rapidly repurposed our labs, using in-house equipment and skills, and opened a drive-through testing service, to support the NHS with diagnostic testing.

This has allowed us to continue our research and help keep frontline healthcare staff, NHS patients, and care homes safe. Since May we have completed hundreds of thousands of tests, supporting 10 hospitals and 150 care homes.

Our COVID-19 drive-through testing service is operated by University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust and its diagnostic partner Health Services Laboratories (HSL).

We have shared our processes and learning in the hope that similar partnerships can be established across the country, delivering reliable and fast testing for vulnerable people.

A short film about how our testing programme came about. Thank you to all our staff and partners who made this work possible.


COVID-19 Consortium standard operating procedures (SOPs)

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 at labs around the UK and globally. 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.

Go directly to our standard operating procedures

View and download the standard operating procedures >

COVID-19 vaccination

In January 2021, we partnered with UCLH to deliver a new large-scale COVID-19 vaccination centre at the Crick. The centre is in the gallery space on our ground floor, separate to ongoing research.

The centre will have capacity to vaccinate up to 1000 people a day, seven days a week. It is overseen by UCLH and staffed by Crick clinician scientists, as well as additional volunteers from the Crick and its partners who have all received NHS training in safely administering vaccines. 

More than 300 researchers and other staff have volunteered their time to help with the vaccination programme, including a number of scientists who are medically trained, and the centre has been set up inside the Francis Crick Institute within a matter of weeks.

People over the age of 80, at-risk individuals in priority groups and frontline healthcare staff will be first to be vaccinated at the centre as part of the NHS vaccination programme.

The Crick's gallery converted into a vaccine centre.

Information for staff and visitors

The safety of staff and visitors is of the highest importance to us during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We are closed to visitors and have instructed Crick staff to work from home where possible.

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