Tackling COVID-19

How UCL’s experts are working on the pandemic from every angle

A person wearing a blue hazmat suit and a facemask carries boxes

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

UCL’s ability to bring together experts from different areas, at speed, to address real-world challenges is reflected in its diverse responses to COVID-19. From ventilators and vaccines to behavioural science and babysitting, here are some of the highlights of how our experts are playing their part in dealing with the pandemic:

Virus watch

Thousands of people across the country are being tested for COVID-19 as part of two new government-funded studies led by UCL and UCLH to see how the coronavirus spreads among communities and NHS workers.

The initiatives are part of a series of studies into COVID-19 that form part of the £24.6 million rapid research response funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Professor Andrew Hayward (UCL Epidemiology & Health) is leading the ‘Virus Watch’ study to recruit 25,000 individuals and collect data from April 2020 to March 2021.

The £3.2 million study will investigate the extent of the spread of the coronavirus within communities and how social distancing affects the risk of infection. The research team will be releasing data throughout the study period.

Learn more about Virus Watch

Breathing aids

Breathing aids developed by engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, working with clinicians at UCLH, have been delivered to 46 NHS hospitals across the country.

The UCL-Ventura breathing aid is a low-flow Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device used to treat COVID-19 patients. CPAP devices were used extensively in China and Italy, but the devices were in short supply in UK hospitals, so engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG HPP worked round the clock to reverse-engineer a device that could be manufactured rapidly by the thousands. 

The Mark I CPAP flow device was produced within a rapid timeframe using the development facilities at Mercedes-AMG HPP – it took less than 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device.

All the details required to make Mark II of the device are available globally for manufacturers and other bodies to download for humanitarian purposes (see link below). So far, they’ve been downloaded by more than 1,800 teams from 105 countries.

Learn more and download

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

UCL’s ability to bring together experts from different areas, at speed, to address real-world challenges is reflected in its diverse responses to COVID-19. From ventilators and vaccines to behavioural science and babysitting, here are some of the highlights of how our experts are playing their part in dealing with the pandemic:

Virus watch

Thousands of people across the country are being tested for COVID-19 as part of two new government-funded studies led by UCL and UCLH to see how the coronavirus spreads among communities and NHS workers.

The initiatives are part of a series of studies into COVID-19 that form part of the £24.6 million rapid research response funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Professor Andrew Hayward (UCL Epidemiology & Health) is leading the ‘Virus Watch’ study to recruit 25,000 individuals and collect data from April 2020 to March 2021.

The £3.2 million study will investigate the extent of the spread of the coronavirus within communities and how social distancing affects the risk of infection. The research team will be releasing data throughout the study period.

Learn more about Virus Watch

Breathing aids

Breathing aids developed by engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, working with clinicians at UCLH, have been delivered to 46 NHS hospitals across the country.

The UCL-Ventura breathing aid is a low-flow Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device used to treat COVID-19 patients. CPAP devices were used extensively in China and Italy, but the devices were in short supply in UK hospitals, so engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG HPP worked round the clock to reverse-engineer a device that could be manufactured rapidly by the thousands. 

The Mark I CPAP flow device was produced within a rapid timeframe using the development facilities at Mercedes-AMG HPP – it took less than 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device.

All the details required to make Mark II of the device are available globally for manufacturers and other bodies to download for humanitarian purposes (see link below). So far, they’ve been downloaded by more than 1,800 teams from 105 countries.

Learn more and download

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

UCL’s ability to bring together experts from different areas, at speed, to address real-world challenges is reflected in its diverse responses to COVID-19. From ventilators and vaccines to behavioural science and babysitting, here are some of the highlights of how our experts are playing their part in dealing with the pandemic:

Virus watch

Thousands of people across the country are being tested for COVID-19 as part of two new government-funded studies led by UCL and UCLH to see how the coronavirus spreads among communities and NHS workers.

The initiatives are part of a series of studies into COVID-19 that form part of the £24.6 million rapid research response funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and by the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Professor Andrew Hayward (UCL Epidemiology & Health) is leading the ‘Virus Watch’ study to recruit 25,000 individuals and collect data from April 2020 to March 2021.

The £3.2 million study will investigate the extent of the spread of the coronavirus within communities and how social distancing affects the risk of infection. The research team will be releasing data throughout the study period.

Learn more about Virus Watch

Breathing aids

Breathing aids developed by engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, working with clinicians at UCLH, have been delivered to 46 NHS hospitals across the country.

The UCL-Ventura breathing aid is a low-flow Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device used to treat COVID-19 patients. CPAP devices were used extensively in China and Italy, but the devices were in short supply in UK hospitals, so engineers at UCL and Mercedes-AMG HPP worked round the clock to reverse-engineer a device that could be manufactured rapidly by the thousands. 

The Mark I CPAP flow device was produced within a rapid timeframe using the development facilities at Mercedes-AMG HPP – it took less than 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device.

All the details required to make Mark II of the device are available globally for manufacturers and other bodies to download for humanitarian purposes (see link below). So far, they’ve been downloaded by more than 1,800 teams from 105 countries.

Learn more and download

Economic recovery

The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) has been busy developing its partnership with C40, a global network of mayors working to tackle the climate crisis, on green economic renewal after COVID-19.

This developing partnership with C40 is part of IIPP’s focus on the city systems across the world that are on the frontline of climate change, and the local and regional authorities who occupy a pivotal role in the green transition, and in the post-COVID-19 green economic renewal.

Economic recovery

The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) has been busy developing its partnership with C40, a global network of mayors working to tackle the climate crisis, on green economic renewal after COVID-19.

This developing partnership with C40 is part of IIPP’s focus on the city systems across the world that are on the frontline of climate change, and the local and regional authorities who occupy a pivotal role in the green transition, and in the post-COVID-19 green economic renewal.

Economic recovery

The UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) has been busy developing its partnership with C40, a global network of mayors working to tackle the climate crisis, on green economic renewal after COVID-19.

This developing partnership with C40 is part of IIPP’s focus on the city systems across the world that are on the frontline of climate change, and the local and regional authorities who occupy a pivotal role in the green transition, and in the post-COVID-19 green economic renewal.

A photo of IIPP Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato

Meanwhile, at home, IIPP Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato (pictured) is also contributing to the UK Government’s economic recovery work, giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee on post-pandemic economic recovery on how to accelerate business innovation and leverage private-sector investment in research and development.

Discover more: the green economy and Professor Mariana Mazzucato

SAGE experts

15 leading UCL academics have been contributing to controlling COVID-19 on the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its related sub-groups.

SAGE provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision-makers in emergencies. It is responsible for pulling together the scientific research and analysis from across government, academia and industry.

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, says, “The number of UCL researchers represented on SAGE and its sub-groups demonstrates the breadth of our academic excellence across many scientific disciplines and the huge number of ways that our community is mobilising to support the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Learn more about SAGE

Vax-Hub

While more than 100 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 are being explored, there is also the enormous challenge of manufacturing enough vaccine to immunise huge numbers of people around the world.

The EPSRC UCL-Oxford Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (Vax-Hub), a partnership with the University of Oxford, is looking at ways to scale up vaccine production. Manufacturing vaccines can be inefficient and expensive due to the use of serial batch operations in large, complex facilities that require highly trained operators and extensive quality testing throughout production.

Vax-Hub is working on ways to improve the processes and reduce costs via new technologies, platform manufacturing, better analytics and thermostable formulation.

Learn more about Vax-Hub

Meanwhile, at home, IIPP Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato (pictured) is also contributing to the UK Government’s economic recovery work, giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee on post-pandemic economic recovery on how to accelerate business innovation and leverage private-sector investment in research and development.

Discover more: the green economy and Professor Mariana Mazzucato

SAGE experts

15 leading UCL academics have been contributing to controlling COVID-19 on the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its related sub-groups.

SAGE provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision-makers in emergencies. It is responsible for pulling together the scientific research and analysis from across government, academia and industry.

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, says, “The number of UCL researchers represented on SAGE and its sub-groups demonstrates the breadth of our academic excellence across many scientific disciplines and the huge number of ways that our community is mobilising to support the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Learn more about SAGE

Vax-Hub

While more than 100 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 are being explored, there is also the enormous challenge of manufacturing enough vaccine to immunise huge numbers of people around the world.

The EPSRC UCL-Oxford Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (Vax-Hub), a partnership with the University of Oxford, is looking at ways to scale up vaccine production. Manufacturing vaccines can be inefficient and expensive due to the use of serial batch operations in large, complex facilities that require highly trained operators and extensive quality testing throughout production.

Vax-Hub is working on ways to improve the processes and reduce costs via new technologies, platform manufacturing, better analytics and thermostable formulation.

Learn more about Vax-Hub

Meanwhile, at home, IIPP Director Professor Mariana Mazzucato (pictured) is also contributing to the UK Government’s economic recovery work, giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee on post-pandemic economic recovery on how to accelerate business innovation and leverage private-sector investment in research and development.

Discover more: the green economy and Professor Mariana Mazzucato

SAGE experts

15 leading UCL academics have been contributing to controlling COVID-19 on the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its related sub-groups.

SAGE provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision-makers in emergencies. It is responsible for pulling together the scientific research and analysis from across government, academia and industry.

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, says, “The number of UCL researchers represented on SAGE and its sub-groups demonstrates the breadth of our academic excellence across many scientific disciplines and the huge number of ways that our community is mobilising to support the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Learn more about SAGE

Vax-Hub

While more than 100 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 are being explored, there is also the enormous challenge of manufacturing enough vaccine to immunise huge numbers of people around the world.

The EPSRC UCL-Oxford Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (Vax-Hub), a partnership with the University of Oxford, is looking at ways to scale up vaccine production. Manufacturing vaccines can be inefficient and expensive due to the use of serial batch operations in large, complex facilities that require highly trained operators and extensive quality testing throughout production.

Vax-Hub is working on ways to improve the processes and reduce costs via new technologies, platform manufacturing, better analytics and thermostable formulation.

Learn more about Vax-Hub

Lots of people crossing the road using a zebra crossing

BAME research

The likelihood of death from COVID-19 is around two to three times higher among England’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups than the general population.

UCL researchers say their findings, based on analysis of NHS data, are consistent with emerging global data and support the need for the UK Government to take urgent action to reduce the risk of death from COVID-19 for BAME groups.

Lead author Dr Rob Aldridge (Institute of Health Informatics) comments that “actions to reduce these inequities include ensuring an adequate income for everyone so that low-paid and zero-hours contract workers can afford to follow social-distancing recommendations, reducing occupational risks such as ensuring adequate PPE, reducing barriers to accessing healthcare, and providing culturally and linguistically appropriate public-health communications.”

Learn more about BAME research

Medical students

More than 300 of UCL’s medical students were fast-tracked through graduation, ready to be made frontline NHS doctors, as part of the UK Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under emergency measures, this enabled the students to apply to the General Medical Council (GMC) for a provisional registration on the medical register, allowing them to become FIY1 (Foundation Interim Year 1) doctors.

Undergraduates at UCL Medical School have also been volunteering to look after the children of doctors and nurses and help out with other day-to-day jobs, such as dog walking and shopping. The Helping Hands project ensures that key health workers can remain on the frontline while also providing them with respite.

Learn more about UCL medical students and student volunteering

Staff trials

500 healthcare workers at UCL are participating in a UCLH trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed at the University of Oxford. The trial of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 being conducted across multiple locations in the UK aims to assess if the vaccine can protect healthy people from the virus.

Learn more about the trial

BAME research

The likelihood of death from COVID-19 is around two to three times higher among England’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups than the general population.

UCL researchers say their findings, based on analysis of NHS data, are consistent with emerging global data and support the need for the UK Government to take urgent action to reduce the risk of death from COVID-19 for BAME groups.

Lead author Dr Rob Aldridge (Institute of Health Informatics) comments that “actions to reduce these inequities include ensuring an adequate income for everyone so that low-paid and zero-hours contract workers can afford to follow social-distancing recommendations, reducing occupational risks such as ensuring adequate PPE, reducing barriers to accessing healthcare, and providing culturally and linguistically appropriate public-health communications.”

Learn more about BAME research

Medical students

More than 300 of UCL’s medical students were fast-tracked through graduation, ready to be made frontline NHS doctors, as part of the UK Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under emergency measures, this enabled the students to apply to the General Medical Council (GMC) for a provisional registration on the medical register, allowing them to become FIY1 (Foundation Interim Year 1) doctors.

Undergraduates at UCL Medical School have also been volunteering to look after the children of doctors and nurses and help out with other day-to-day jobs, such as dog walking and shopping. The Helping Hands project ensures that key health workers can remain on the frontline while also providing them with respite.

Learn more about UCL medical students and student volunteering

Staff trials

500 healthcare workers at UCL are participating in a UCLH trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed at the University of Oxford. The trial of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 being conducted across multiple locations in the UK aims to assess if the vaccine can protect healthy people from the virus.

Learn more about the trial

BAME research

The likelihood of death from COVID-19 is around two to three times higher among England’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups than the general population.

UCL researchers say their findings, based on analysis of NHS data, are consistent with emerging global data and support the need for the UK Government to take urgent action to reduce the risk of death from COVID-19 for BAME groups.

Lead author Dr Rob Aldridge (Institute of Health Informatics) comments that “actions to reduce these inequities include ensuring an adequate income for everyone so that low-paid and zero-hours contract workers can afford to follow social-distancing recommendations, reducing occupational risks such as ensuring adequate PPE, reducing barriers to accessing healthcare, and providing culturally and linguistically appropriate public-health communications.”

Learn more about BAME research

Medical students

More than 300 of UCL’s medical students were fast-tracked through graduation, ready to be made frontline NHS doctors, as part of the UK Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under emergency measures, this enabled the students to apply to the General Medical Council (GMC) for a provisional registration on the medical register, allowing them to become FIY1 (Foundation Interim Year 1) doctors.

Undergraduates at UCL Medical School have also been volunteering to look after the children of doctors and nurses and help out with other day-to-day jobs, such as dog walking and shopping. The Helping Hands project ensures that key health workers can remain on the frontline while also providing them with respite.

Learn more about UCL medical students and student volunteering

Staff trials

500 healthcare workers at UCL are participating in a UCLH trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed at the University of Oxford. The trial of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 being conducted across multiple locations in the UK aims to assess if the vaccine can protect healthy people from the virus.

Learn more about the trial

Legal advice

UCL’s Centre for Access to Justice (CAJ) is continuing to offer free legal advice on social-welfare issues, to ensure that vulnerable people have a lifeline of support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAJ Executive Director Professor Dame Hazel Genn says, “The lockdown disproportionately affects those already on low incomes, in poor housing and experiencing mental-health challenges. There are children that have been wrenched out of education for whom schools were a safe haven.And overnight, a population of newly and unexpectedly vulnerable citizens has emerged through loss of livelihood and fears for basic security of food and home.”

Legal advice

UCL’s Centre for Access to Justice (CAJ) is continuing to offer free legal advice on social-welfare issues, to ensure that vulnerable people have a lifeline of support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAJ Executive Director Professor Dame Hazel Genn says, “The lockdown disproportionately affects those already on low incomes, in poor housing and experiencing mental-health challenges. There are children that have been wrenched out of education for whom schools were a safe haven.And overnight, a population of newly and unexpectedly vulnerable citizens has emerged through loss of livelihood and fears for basic security of food and home.”

Legal advice

UCL’s Centre for Access to Justice (CAJ) is continuing to offer free legal advice on social-welfare issues, to ensure that vulnerable people have a lifeline of support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAJ Executive Director Professor Dame Hazel Genn says, “The lockdown disproportionately affects those already on low incomes, in poor housing and experiencing mental-health challenges. There are children that have been wrenched out of education for whom schools were a safe haven.And overnight, a population of newly and unexpectedly vulnerable citizens has emerged through loss of livelihood and fears for basic security of food and home.”

Legal 2

The CAJ team is keeping an eye on emergency measures brought in by the government to ensure they are lawful and legitimate. The team has already challenged new guidance for local authorities that relaxes their statutory duties for children’s social care, which has the potential to put vulnerable children at even greater risk. As a result, the government has agreed to update its guidance.  

Neurological news

A UCL and UCLH-led study has discovered that neurological complications of COVID-19 can include delirium, brain inflammation, stroke and nerve damage. Some patients in the study did not experience severe respiratory symptoms, and the neurological disorder was the first and main presentation of COVID-19. 

Joint first author Dr Ross Paterson (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) says, “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes. People recovering from the virus should seek professional health advice if they experience neurological symptoms.”

Meanwhile, UCL’s Centre for Neurorehabilitation, working alongside the UCLH National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) has launched a pilot programme of remote rehabilitation for stroke victims.

With the support of dedicated fundraising by SameYou, the charity set up by Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke, the Centre is delivering innovative virtual group sessions led by trained therapists, covering physiotherapy, occupational therapy, fatigue management and more.

Learn more about UCL's COVID-19 research and the SameYou charity

Tracing privacy

A new Bluetooth contact-tracing system for detecting COVID-19 proximity has been developed by a team of scientists and data-privacy experts, including those from UCL.

The DP-3T tracing system, which is presented openly for public scrutiny in a White Paper, works at scale and has been developed to the highest privacy standards, ready to deploy into an app.  The system enables epidemiologists to analyse the spread of the pandemic while fully respecting people’s rights to privacy. Personal data never leaves an individual’s device and is not stored in a centralised cloud server, meaning it is not able to be repurposed for anything other than public health.

“There are a lot of concerns about Bluetooth tracing being administered centrally by governments, particularly in countries that have weaker privacy laws and concern for human rights,” says data rights and regulation lecturer Dr Michael Veale (UCL Laws). “We have developed a practical solution that could help tell someone when they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, while at the same time ensuring that the user’s information never leaves their phone.”

Learn more about the Bluetooth contact-tracing system

The CAJ team is keeping an eye on emergency measures brought in by the government to ensure they are lawful and legitimate. The team has already challenged new guidance for local authorities that relaxes their statutory duties for children’s social care, which has the potential to put vulnerable children at even greater risk. As a result, the government has agreed to update its guidance.  

Neurological news

A UCL and UCLH-led study has discovered that neurological complications of COVID-19 can include delirium, brain inflammation, stroke and nerve damage. Some patients in the study did not experience severe respiratory symptoms, and the neurological disorder was the first and main presentation of COVID-19. 

Joint first author Dr Ross Paterson (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) says, “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes. People recovering from the virus should seek professional health advice if they experience neurological symptoms.”

Meanwhile, UCL’s Centre for Neurorehabilitation, working alongside the UCLH National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) has launched a pilot programme of remote rehabilitation for stroke victims.

With the support of dedicated fundraising by SameYou, the charity set up by Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke, the Centre is delivering innovative virtual group sessions led by trained therapists, covering physiotherapy, occupational therapy, fatigue management and more.

Learn more about UCL's COVID-19 research and the SameYou charity

Tracing privacy

A new Bluetooth contact-tracing system for detecting COVID-19 proximity has been developed by a team of scientists and data-privacy experts, including those from UCL.

The DP-3T tracing system, which is presented openly for public scrutiny in a White Paper, works at scale and has been developed to the highest privacy standards, ready to deploy into an app.  The system enables epidemiologists to analyse the spread of the pandemic while fully respecting people’s rights to privacy. Personal data never leaves an individual’s device and is not stored in a centralised cloud server, meaning it is not able to be repurposed for anything other than public health.

“There are a lot of concerns about Bluetooth tracing being administered centrally by governments, particularly in countries that have weaker privacy laws and concern for human rights,” says data rights and regulation lecturer Dr Michael Veale (UCL Laws). “We have developed a practical solution that could help tell someone when they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, while at the same time ensuring that the user’s information never leaves their phone.”

Learn more about the Bluetooth contact-tracing system

The CAJ team is keeping an eye on emergency measures brought in by the government to ensure they are lawful and legitimate. The team has already challenged new guidance for local authorities that relaxes their statutory duties for children’s social care, which has the potential to put vulnerable children at even greater risk. As a result, the government has agreed to update its guidance.  

Neurological news

A UCL and UCLH-led study has discovered that neurological complications of COVID-19 can include delirium, brain inflammation, stroke and nerve damage. Some patients in the study did not experience severe respiratory symptoms, and the neurological disorder was the first and main presentation of COVID-19. 

Joint first author Dr Ross Paterson (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) says, “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes. People recovering from the virus should seek professional health advice if they experience neurological symptoms.”

Meanwhile, UCL’s Centre for Neurorehabilitation, working alongside the UCLH National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) has launched a pilot programme of remote rehabilitation for stroke victims.

With the support of dedicated fundraising by SameYou, the charity set up by Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke, the Centre is delivering innovative virtual group sessions led by trained therapists, covering physiotherapy, occupational therapy, fatigue management and more.

Learn more about UCL's COVID-19 research and the SameYou charity

Tracing privacy

A new Bluetooth contact-tracing system for detecting COVID-19 proximity has been developed by a team of scientists and data-privacy experts, including those from UCL.

The DP-3T tracing system, which is presented openly for public scrutiny in a White Paper, works at scale and has been developed to the highest privacy standards, ready to deploy into an app.  The system enables epidemiologists to analyse the spread of the pandemic while fully respecting people’s rights to privacy. Personal data never leaves an individual’s device and is not stored in a centralised cloud server, meaning it is not able to be repurposed for anything other than public health.

“There are a lot of concerns about Bluetooth tracing being administered centrally by governments, particularly in countries that have weaker privacy laws and concern for human rights,” says data rights and regulation lecturer Dr Michael Veale (UCL Laws). “We have developed a practical solution that could help tell someone when they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, while at the same time ensuring that the user’s information never leaves their phone.”

Learn more about the Bluetooth contact-tracing system

Super computers

Super computers

The world’s most powerful supercomputers are being used by UCL researchers for urgent investigations into the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the associated COVID-19 disease, with the aim of accelerating the development of treatments, including antiviral drugs and vaccines.

Professor Peter Coveney (UCL Chemistry), who leads the EU H2020 Computational Biomedicine Centre of Excellence, and his colleagues at the UCL Centre for Computational Science are part of a consortium of more than 100 researchers from across the US and Europe who are harnessing the technology to study aspects of the virus and disease in detail.

Professor Coveney explains, “We are using the power of supercomputers to search vast numbers of potential compounds that could inhibit the novel coronavirus, and with different algorithms refining that list to the compounds with the best binding affinity. This is a much quicker way of finding suitable treatments than the typical drug-development process. It normally takes pharma companies 12 years and $2 billion to take one drug from discovery to market, but we are rewriting the rules by using powerful computers to find a needle in a haystack in a fraction of that time and cost.”

Discover more about supercomputers

Listen

The best way to keep informed of UCL’s extensive expertise on COVID-19 is via the Coronavirus: The Whole Story podcast. Presented by writer, broadcaster and UCL alumna Vivienne Parry, each episode looks at the coronavirus outbreak through different lenses by asking big questions such as: how do we reimagine the future? How do we kick-start the economy? How has the pandemic changed arts and culture? And how will our children recover from lockdown?

Listen to the podcast

Support

Help UCL find solutions to the challenges that COVID-19 brings, at a pace that would, under normal circumstances, be considered impossible.

Donate to UCL COVID-19 research

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

Super computers

The world’s most powerful supercomputers are being used by UCL researchers for urgent investigations into the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the associated COVID-19 disease, with the aim of accelerating the development of treatments, including antiviral drugs and vaccines.

Professor Peter Coveney (UCL Chemistry), who leads the EU H2020 Computational Biomedicine Centre of Excellence, and his colleagues at the UCL Centre for Computational Science are part of a consortium of more than 100 researchers from across the US and Europe who are harnessing the technology to study aspects of the virus and disease in detail.

Professor Coveney explains, “We are using the power of supercomputers to search vast numbers of potential compounds that could inhibit the novel coronavirus, and with different algorithms refining that list to the compounds with the best binding affinity. This is a much quicker way of finding suitable treatments than the typical drug-development process. It normally takes pharma companies 12 years and $2 billion to take one drug from discovery to market, but we are rewriting the rules by using powerful computers to find a needle in a haystack in a fraction of that time and cost.”

Discover more about supercomputers

Listen

The best way to keep informed of UCL’s extensive expertise on COVID-19 is via the Coronavirus: The Whole Story podcast. Presented by writer, broadcaster and UCL alumna Vivienne Parry, each episode looks at the coronavirus outbreak through different lenses by asking big questions such as: how do we reimagine the future? How do we kick-start the economy? How has the pandemic changed arts and culture? And how will our children recover from lockdown?

Listen to the podcast

Support

Help UCL find solutions to the challenges that COVID-19 brings, at a pace that would, under normal circumstances, be considered impossible.

Donate to UCL COVID-19 research

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

Super computers

The world’s most powerful supercomputers are being used by UCL researchers for urgent investigations into the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the associated COVID-19 disease, with the aim of accelerating the development of treatments, including antiviral drugs and vaccines.

Professor Peter Coveney (UCL Chemistry), who leads the EU H2020 Computational Biomedicine Centre of Excellence, and his colleagues at the UCL Centre for Computational Science are part of a consortium of more than 100 researchers from across the US and Europe who are harnessing the technology to study aspects of the virus and disease in detail.

Professor Coveney explains, “We are using the power of supercomputers to search vast numbers of potential compounds that could inhibit the novel coronavirus, and with different algorithms refining that list to the compounds with the best binding affinity. This is a much quicker way of finding suitable treatments than the typical drug-development process. It normally takes pharma companies 12 years and $2 billion to take one drug from discovery to market, but we are rewriting the rules by using powerful computers to find a needle in a haystack in a fraction of that time and cost.”

Discover more about supercomputers

Listen

The best way to keep informed of UCL’s extensive expertise on COVID-19 is via the Coronavirus: The Whole Story podcast. Presented by writer, broadcaster and UCL alumna Vivienne Parry, each episode looks at the coronavirus outbreak through different lenses by asking big questions such as: how do we reimagine the future? How do we kick-start the economy? How has the pandemic changed arts and culture? And how will our children recover from lockdown?

Listen to the podcast

Support

Help UCL find solutions to the challenges that COVID-19 brings, at a pace that would, under normal circumstances, be considered impossible.

Donate to UCL COVID-19 research

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.