Imperial College London
Critical modelling and research in the face of the global COVID pandemic
Imperial staff collaborated across different disciplines, including modelling, developing treatments, vaccines, and tests, in their efforts supporting the international response to COVID-19 shortly after the first outbreak began.
A group of more than 80 academics and students – including epidemiologists, statisticians, research software developers, clinicians and health economists – joined forces to study the transmissibility and severity of the virus. Research work included trialling a unique vaccine approach that could revolutionise the way vaccines are produced for SARS-CoV-2 and other major disease threats. The college also launched a landmark human challenge study with its partners, to help understand the course of disease in those with mild infections and to investigate the detailed natural history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Meanwhile, educators developed innovative approaches to digital learning, such as virtual field trips and portable experiments, ensuring that teaching could continue to be delivered to the next generation of STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) leaders.
Overall, Imperial has led 15 major clinical trials on COVID-19 treatments, including rapidly adapting past trials to capture results quickly in the face of the pandemic. It also leads one of the world’s largest COVID-19 community surveillance studies – the REACT Study – which tracks infection across England through regular testing of the population.