150 scientists from new institute join Cambridge fight against COVID-19

One of Cambridge’s newest institutes, established to study the relationship between infectious disease and our immune systems, is leading the University of Cambridge’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 150 scientists and clinicians, the UK’s largest academic Containment Level 3 Facility, and a range of collaborators from across the UK and beyond. 

  Coronavirus  Credit: geralt

Based on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease (CITIID) is integrated with the NHS both locally, through Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and nationally, in particular through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) BioResource.

CITIID, based in the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre, opened its doors in September 2019. Following the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the institute has redirected all of its research efforts to tackling the pandemic.

The world is facing an unprecedented challenge, with potentially millions of lives at risk, which is why over 150 of my colleagues at our new institute are focusing their expertise on the fightback against COVID-19,” says Professor Ken Smith, Director of CITIID.

“Together with our partners in the NHS and NIHR, we aim to identify those patients at greatest risk and understand why the coronavirus makes some people so sick while leaving others with only mild symptoms. Ultimately, we hope this will lead to the development of new treatments against this dreadful disease.”

The Institute last week opened what is believed to be the largest Containment Level 3 Facility in any UK academic institution. These facilities are required for work on dangerous pathogens such as the coronavirus.

“The state-of-the-art facilities and equipment at CITIID will allow us to do essential work on the novel coronavirus in a safe environment,” says Professor Gordon Dougan. “Our institute, positioned as it is on the thriving Cambridge Biomedical Campus, is perfectly suited to lead Cambridge’s response, working with research and health partners locally, nationally and internationally on this urgent problem.”

The team at the institute has also been instrumental in evaluating and helping set up point-of-care, rapid diagnostic testing for patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust, as well as developing tests for frontline healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.

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Image: Coronavirus

Credit: geralt

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge

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