Our role in combating COVID-19

All the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) research developments, news and comment

From virology to immunology, and from business to economics, our researchers are contributing to the ongoing global effort to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff and students continue to support the NHS and our community to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

How our research is supporting the global effort

Our researchers across the academic spectrum are working together to address the COVID-19 pandemic in a host of innovative projects. Our research-intensive culture means we are playing a pivotal role in the global challenge to beat the virus.

We are currently:

  • Leading the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium to help understand immune responses to the novel coronavirus
  • Working with COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium - COG-UK - to map how COVID-19 spreads and evolves using whole-genome sequencing
  • Working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to increase capacity for COVID-19 testing in the region and support our staff, students and local community
  • Developing and delivering new interventions for COVID-19 both locally and as part of National Institute for Health Research funded national consortia
  • Leading a central hub, PIONEER, that is collecting electronic health data nationally to help us understand the progress of the pandemic and how it impacts on both COVID and non-COVID patients
  • Supporting a nationwide consortium seeking to understand and improve long-term health outcomes for patients who have been in hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19
  • Leading the analysis of COVID-19 testing as part of a national review for the Cochrane Collaboration
  • Undertaking a living systematic review in collaboration with the World Health Organization to understand the effects of COVID-19 in pregnancy
  • Monitoring the COVID-19 economic impact to help support actions designed to respond to some of the most damaging effects of the pandemic on the region’s economy and local communities

In addition, we have:

Our latest research news:

Research and commentary from our Colleges:

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Supporting the NHS and our community

With one of the largest medical schools in the country, our staff and students have been playing a vital role in supporting the UK Government and the NHS since the outbreak of Covid-19. Here are some examples of support so far:

Our staff

  • Clinical academics from our Institute of Mental Health continue to support mental health services across Birmingham  
  • Hundreds of clinical academic staff prioritised front-line activity over research duties at the height of the pandemic earlier this year, and we made online training available free for those returning to clinical roles or being redeployed during the COVID-19 pandemic

Our students

  • We worked with other medical schools and the General Medical Council to bring forward qualification for our final-year medical students at the end of April, and many of our third-year student nurses took further responsibility through the Nursing and Midwifery Council's provisional register
  • More than 1,000 of our medical students volunteered to support NHS workers and carried out duties such as providing childcare, delivering food and running errands while over 600 medical students have been allocated in hospitals, GP surgeries and West Midlands 111 to offer valuable support to frontline staff

Our equipment and infrastructure

  • 15 of our PCR machines are being used to help to rapidly increase rates of testing for COVID-19
  • One of our nurseries is supporting key workers, caring for up to 30 children daily so that these workers can fulfil their vital roles
  • One of our laboratories was converted to produce hand sanitiser for Birmingham City Council frontline staff
  • Together we have donated many boxes of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to local NHS trusts
  • Our Edgbaston Park Hotel provided accommodation for NHS staff

Here is a selection of the work our Birmingham Heroes have been carrying out as part of our fight against COVID-19:

All coronavirus news and commentary