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NIHR's response to COVID-19

Supporting the health and care system's response to the pandemic

The NIHR has played a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. We have funded, enabled and delivered ground-breaking research that is already helping to save lives in the UK and around the world. Our research is informing government policy, and providing NHS doctors and nurses with the tools they need to prevent and treat COVID-19. By being embedded in the NHS, we have been able to respond quickly and prioritise research based on science, relevance and feasibility; research studies that we identify as urgent public health studies.

Now that the COVID vaccination programme has reached the highest risk groups in the population and has helped drive down the effects of the pandemic, we are increasingly focusing on managing the recovery of research into other conditions, building on the lessons learnt during the pandemic. NIHR will continue to work on COVID studies, including the long-term consequences of COVID-19, some vital vaccine and antiviral studies, alongside other studies.

The world faces an unprecedented challenge in our efforts to tackle the spread of COVID-19 and it is vital we harness our research capabilities to the fullest extent to limit the outbreak, and protect life.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer and NIHR Co-Lead

Here are five examples of ways our research has helped combat COVID-19 in the last year. To find out more about how our work is making a difference visit the sections below.

While the pandemic has inevitably reduced the amount of research we have been able to do into other conditions, we have worked hard to maintain a diverse and active portfolio. 

Working together

Collaboration is at the core of our response to the pandemic. We work with with the NHS, regulators, commercial partners or the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than one million people are already taking part in our research studies.  This involvement and participation by members of the public is key to the success of our research.

If you’re a member of the research community you'll also find more information on support, funding and guidance in relation to COVID-19 research in the other sections of our website including:

We are no longer accepting applications for studies to be designated as Urgent Public Health (UPH). The submission portal has therefore been closed. Visit our Urgent Public Health page to find out more.  

  View all our COVID-19 updates