A scientist opens a cabinet door to place in a tray of samples in the new testing lab for COVID-19

United against COVID-19

In December 2019, a new respiratory virus was identified in Wuhan, China, which caused alarm across the globe. Within days, Imperial researchers had already begun work to understand this new disease, how it could spread and how best to protect populations around the world.

From day one, Imperial researchers, health workers and medical students were on the frontline of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1,000 of our alumni and friends gave over £7.5 million to support them, touching all aspects of the College’s fight against the pandemic.

Many donors supported the COVID-19 Response Fund, a pooled fund that gave the College the flexibility to quickly support high-impact projects to tackle COVID-19 and to support students. Community Jameel and Imperial co-created the £1 million Community Jameel Imperial College COVID-19 Excellence Fund, to scale up novel and essential high-impact research projects. In April 2021, the Jameel Fund for Infectious Disease Research and Innovation was announced. Supported by donations from Community Jameel, the fund provides grants of up to $65,000 for short-term, high-impact projects that advance our ability to understand, prevent, diagnose, and treat coronaviruses and other infectious diseases.  

COVID-19 response recognised

In November 2021, Imperial was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The highest national Honour awarded in UK further and higher education, the prize celebrated the rapid and collaborative early response from the Imperial community, including crucial modelling, developing treatments, vaccines and tests, providing world-class remote learning and supporting students and staff on the NHS frontline.

Imperial led 15 major clinical trials on COVID-19 treatments, worked on a unique self-amplifying RNA vaccine approach that could revolutionise how vaccines are produced, led one of the world’s largest COVID-19 community surveillance studies and published a landmark human challenge study to show the course of disease in those with mild infections.

Through all of this, Imperial alumni, donors and friends were by our side. Thank you for being part of the fight against COVID-19.

Doctors wearing facemasks and visors to protect against COVID-19

A study by Dr Dasha Nicholls looked at the short and medium-term psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wellbeing and mental health needs of front-line NHS and social care staff.

Dr Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu uses a pipette in the lab, wearing a lab coat

Dr Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu studied children with PIMS-TS, a rare yet severe illness associated with COVID-19, to understand why these children get ill and to highlight potential treatment options.

Connor Myant holds a prototype of a new, personalised face mask for protection against COVID-19

Dr Connor Myant developed a new design for PPE that would see healthcare workers scanning their own face using a smartphone so that custom-fit equipment can be automatically designed for them, eliminating the higher risk of infection and discomfort associated with poor-fitting PPE.