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
On behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, the NIHR is playing a critical role in terms of funding, enabling and delivering research into COVID-19.
Our primary focus has been on urgent public health research
- research that needs to take place during the emergency phases of the pandemic when infection rates are high. Our goal is to gather the necessary clinical and epidemiological evidence that will inform national policy and enable new diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to be developed and tested. We are working in collaboration with the devolved administrations and organisations including Public Health England, UK Research and Innovation, the Health Research Authority, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and NHS England and Improvement.
This urgent research is complemented by research being undertaken across our research infrastructure, units and schools and, more recently, by our investment in longer-term 'recovery and learning
' research through NIHR research programmes. Outside the UK, we are funding global health research
to tackle COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries, in partnership with UK Research and Innovation.
Urgent public health research into COVID-19 continu
es to be our number one priority. However, as the number of COVID-19 cases is falling and as the NHS is beginning to restore routine clinical services,
we believe the time is right to ‘restart’ non-COVID-19 research activities that have been paused due to the pandemic and to 'open' for new studies. We have developed a framework to support this restart process following wide stakeholder consultation.