The NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at Liverpool and the Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases Research (CEIDR) led by Professor Tom Solomon and Professor William Hope , respectively are working together to deliver an ambitious and innovative program of work. CEIDR is a joint initiative between the University of Liverpool (UoL) and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). Other key partners are the Liverpool City Council and the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme.


COVID-19 Research Themes

Liverpool (University of Liverpool (UoL), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and the NHS all joined by Liverpool Health Partners) has united to redirect the majority of its research efforts to COVID-19.  Research programs designed to have immediate benefits for public health.  This programme is supported by approximately £1 million in pump priming from the University of Liverpool and The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the efforts of >200 researchers, underpinned by equipment and laboratory space across the Liverpool City Region. 

The #Liverpool_Malawai_COVID19 research effort consists of:

Clinical Characterisation and Biobanking
Drug Discovery
Viral Dynamics and Protective Immunity
Pathogen Biology
Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics
Therapeutics, Early Phase Clinical Trials and Pharmacokinetics-Pharmacodynamics
Knowledge Mobilisation, Public and Community Involvement

Latest COVID-19 News

Prof Christl Donnelly works in collaborative groups analysing the transmissibility of the virus that causes COVID-19, the case fatality ratio, the effectiveness of international surveillance and the predicted impacts of control measures among other topics. Read more here.

Professor Peter Horby, from the University of Oxford, who is a co-director of HPRU in EZI is leading a new clinical trial to look at treatment for COVID-19.  Read more here

BBC North West News Report on COVID-19 Research.: More than 100 scientists and doctors from across the City of Liverpool, including the University, the School of Tropical Medicine and the hospitals have come together to tackle coronavirus. Virtually all other research at the University has been stopped to focus on the epidemic. The work is being supported by £1.1M of funding from across the City. Professor Tom Solomon presents the piece, which features Dr Emily Adams, Dr Lance Turtle, Professor William Hope. Watch here:


COVID-19 Projects


Prof Calum Semple is leading an International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC) - Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK (CCP-UK), a nationwide observational study that is intended to activate in the event of the appearance or outbreak of a disease of public health importance. Calum’s Medical Research Council-funded CCP-UK study, with additional support from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at Liverpool, is collecting clinical data and biological samples to describe and characterise COVID-19 disease, inform management, and to act as a platform for clinical trials into new treatments. Samples from patients have been shared with co-applicants at Liverpool, Glasgow, Bristol and Public Health England (PHE).

Dr Lance Turtle is receiving CCP-UK acute blood samples which will be used for flow cytometry to investigate the role of cellular immunity in COVID-19 disease. Turtle also collects convalescent samples from recovered patients and contribute to an epitope mapping project with colleagues in Sheffield and Oxford.

Prof Julian Hiscox is developing rapid approaches for sequencing SARS-CoV-2 in samples from patients as well as validating animal models for vaccine development and medical countermeasures. With Profs Al Darby and Steve Patterson in the Centre for Genomic Research (CGR) at the University of Liverpool, his laboratory are part of a PHE funded collaboration to provide virus sequencing for transmission studies in real time. His team are also working on samples from the CCP-UK study.

Understanding the dynamics of policy development and healthcare worker behaviour in the UK during the COVID-19 public health emergency

In an infectious disease outbreak public health policymakers are under tremendous pressure, especially from the media. They must respond rapidly to and take decisions which impact enormously on healthcare provision.

Prof Sally Sheard and colleagues are studying conventional and social media trends during the COVID-19 epidemic, and are linking these to changes in UK policy, gaining unique insights through collaboration with key policy players. These include members of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) that advises the Government, and Public Health England leaders. These experts are recording information on key meetings and events, and giving regular interviews their perspectives can be captured in real-time.

Sheard's team also examines the impact of the policy changes on healthcare workers in general practice and hospitals, through interviews and observations. Healthcare workers' perspective on delivering care during the epidemic, and how they perceive the changes in policy is fed back to policymakers during the outbreak. The approach is novel because policy decisions are usually only studied after an event, making the findings less reliable.

This resaerch was piloted with pump-prime funding from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at Liverpool, and has been scaled up with support from the Medical Research Council.

Latest COVID-19 Publications

Amplicon based MinION sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 and metagenomic characterisation of nasopharyngeal swabs from patients with COVID-19

Shona C Moore, Rebekah Penrice-Randal, Muhannad Alruwaili, Xiaofeng Dong, Steven T Pullan, Daniel Carter, Kevin Bewley, Qin Zhao, Yani Sun, Catherine Hartley, En-min Zhou, Tom Solomon, Michael B. J. Beadsworth, James Cruise, Debby Bogaert, Derrick W T Crook, David A Matthews, Andrew D. Davidson, Zana Mahmood, Waleed Aljabr, Julian Druce, Richard T Vipond, Lisa Ng, Laurent Renia, Peter Openshaw, J Kenneth Baillie, Miles W Carroll, Calum Semple, Lance Turtle, Julian Alexander Hiscox.



BMJ Best Practice monograph: COVID-19

Nick Beeching, Tom Fletcher, Robert Fowler.