University of Oxford

Life-saving rapid response to COVID-19

Large-scale multi-disciplinary research in antibodies combining to enable the design and production of an effective vaccine against COVID-19, saving millions of lives.

By May 2021, COVID-19 had claimed the lives of over 3 million people and there had been 150 million cases recorded worldwide. Large interdisciplinary groups at the University of Oxford took a global outlook, working with international partners to benefit people across the world.

The university’s response resulted in millions of lives saved and millions more improved: by producing a safe and effective vaccine that by May 2021 had been received by 20 million people in the UK and 250 million globally; by finding an effective treatment for those already ill, saving over a million lives worldwide; and by preventing the use of ineffective treatments.  In the UK, it provided the framework for digital contact tracing, preventing an estimated 600,000 infections, created a platform to validate antibody testing technologies, developed a new test for previous COVID-19 infection, and led the UK’s infection study to inform decisions by government.

Multiple teams worked tirelessly to research, understand, invent and innovate to tackle the pandemic from all angles, and the university community came together as a single institution in an unprecedented way.