From virology to immunology, and from business to economics, our researchers are contributing to the global effort to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff and students are also supporting the NHS and our community by volunteering their time to fight the effects of the outbreak.

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.

Current work includes boosting laboratory testing capacity, coordinating clinical trials of new interventions and providing practical support to NHS workers. In addition, many of our academic clinicians are now working full time in the NHS fighting the novel coronavirus and its devastating effects. Our world-leading expertise is making a real difference to people’s lives during this emergency. We are:

  • Working with COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium - COG-UK - to map how COVID-19 spreads and evolves using whole-genome sequencing
  • Working closely with Public Health England to increase capacity for COVID-19 testing in the region and supporting the running of one of the national testing hubs
  • 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
  • Leading the national drive to develop and test new ventilators that are so badly needed to save the worst-affected patients, and working on solutions to improve the seal and fit of facemasks and develop new types of PPE
  • Creating the first cancer coronavirus registry in the world to track how cancer patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be impacted

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. Here are some examples of support so far:

Our staff

  • Hundreds of clinical academic staff are prioritising front-line activity over research duties, and we have made online training available free for those returning to clinical roles or being redeployed during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Clinical academics from our Institute of Mental Health have been supporting mental health services across Birmingham  

Our students

  • We are working with other medical schools and the General Medical Council to bring forward qualification for our final-year medical students to the end of April, and many third-year student nurses are taking further responsibility through the Nursing and Midwifery Council's provisional register
  • More than 1,000 of our medical students have volunteered to support NHS workers by carrying 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

  • One of our laboratories has been 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
  • 15 of our PCR machines are being used to help to rapidly increase rates of testing for COVID-19
  • Our Edgbaston Park Hotel is providing accommodation for NHS staff
  • One of our nurseries is supporting key workers, caring for up to 30 children daily so that these workers can fulfil their vital roles

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

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