Pandemic response award
Winner: The Francis Crick Institute
This award puts the spotlight on the best response to the pandemic. This year the development of relationships and solutions towards a common goal has been more important than ever before.
The Francis Crick Institute were the winners at the 2021 ceremony, awarded for repurposing its staff and infrastructure to create an accredited, active COVID-19 testing pipeline in just under two weeks.
“In March 2020, the UK went into a national lockdown due to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. The Francis Crick Institute (a biomedical research institute dedicated to the discovery of the biology underlying human health) responded to this by repurposing its staff and infrastructure to create an accredited, active COVID-19 testing pipeline in just under two weeks. A vaccination centre was established in January 2021. The reaction of The Crick to the pandemic has shown how moving with agility and common purpose with others can provide an invaluable ‘one stop shop’ resource to the public in the face of a crisis such as this, and can influence government pandemic response policy.” – James Macrae, Head of Metabolomics at The Francis Crick Institute
In order to provide a validated, accredited virus testing centre, a partnership between the Crick, UCLH, and Health Services Laboratories (HSL, a UKAS-recognized clinical diagnostic laboratory) was created. Since the start of the pandemic, The Crick has performed ~600,000 nasopharyngeal swab tests (as well as DNA sequencing of positive samples to track modes of infection and variant prevalence), developed a serology (antibody) testing pipeline and a neutralisation assay to determine antibody load & efficacy, and created a vaccination centre (administering 80,000+ vaccines).