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Connect on Coronavirus: BSI actions

The British Society for Immunology will do its utmost during the Coronavirus outbreak to support our members and ensure that their voice is heard and acted on. This work includes interacting with government, health officials, the media, and the public. We will update this page regularly to keep you informed of our actions.


8 January 2021

BSI response to approval of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in UK

Our response to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine being approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Read our full statement >


4 January 2021

BSI statement on COVID-19 vaccine dosing schedules

The British Society for Immunology has produced a statement that lays out our position on the MHRA's announcement that the dosing schedule for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines should be changed to a maximum of 12 weeks between the first and second dose. 

Read our full statement >


30 December 2020

BSI response to approval of Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Our response to news that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in the UK. 

Read our full statement >


9 December 2020

BSI response to reports of two allergic reactions following COVID-19 vaccination

Our response to precautionary advice issued by Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that people who have a history of significant allergic reactions should not currently receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Read our full statement


8 December 2020

BSI response to launch of rollout for COVID-19 vaccine on NHS

Our statement to mark the start of rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.

Read our full statement >


2 December 2020

BSI response to approval of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine use in UK

The Government announced that they have accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use. Professor Arne Akbar, President of the BSI, responds.

Read our full statement >


8 December 2020

BSI response to published interim phase 3 trial results for University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

Our response to the publication of interim phase 3 trial results of the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against COVID-19.

Read our full statement >


19 November 2020

BSI response to phase 2/3 results from Oxford University COVID vaccine trial

Our response to the results of a phase 2/3 trial of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against COVID-19, being developed by researchers at Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

Read our full statement >


10 November 2020

Urgent research into how ageing immune system responds to COVID-19 needed

The BSI's COVID-19 and Immunology Taskforce has released a new expert report examining why the immune systems of older people react differently to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Read our full statement >


2 November 2020

BSI response to UK-CIC pre-print study on cellular immunity against SARS-CoV-2

A new pre-print study from UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC) researchers suggests cellular (T cell) immunity against SARS-CoV-2 is present six months after asymptomatic or mild/moderate COVID-19 infection.

Read our full statement >


20 October 2020

BSI response to human challenge studies for COVID-19

Our response to the announcement from Imperial College London that UK researchers are set to explore a human challenge study for COVID-19.

Read our full statement >


24 September 2020

BSI response to study on public acceptance of a potential COVID-19 vaccine

Our response to new results from the University College London COVID-19 Social Study on public attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination, which reported that a fifth of people are unlikely to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Read our full statement >


9 September 2020

BSI response to pause in Oxford University coronavirus vaccine trial

AstraZeneca and Oxford University announced that they have paused their trial of their coronavirus vaccine candidate (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) while they investigate an unexplained illness in one of the participants in the phase 2/3 trials. In response, the BSI released a short statement.

Read our full statement >


28 August 2020

New national immunology consortium to tackle COVID-19

The BSI is supporting a new UK-wide study, The Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC), set up to tackle key questions around the immune system’s response to COVID-19.

Read our full statement >


18 August 2020

BSI response to the launch of the National Institute for Health Protection

The Government announced that it is planning to create a new National Institute for Health Protection which will lead on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Institute will bring together Public Health England, NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre.  In response, the BSI released a short statement commentating on the announcement.

Read our full statement >


18 August 2020

BSI response to study on new-onset type 1 diabetes in children during COVID-19

Our response to a study published in the journal, Diabetes Care, reports on the number of new-onset type 1 diabetes cases reports in children in a population in London during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read our full statement >


13 August 2020

COVID-19 & immunology expert review: Long-term immunological health consequences of COVID-19 

Our expert taskforce on immunology and COVID-19 have published a new briefing note to provide a rapid review of current research on the long-term immunological health consequences of COVID-19. It also sets out key recommendations to help understand what SARS-CoV-2 and our immune response to it does to our health over the long term in a range of individuals, from asymptomatic to severe cases. 

Read the full expert review >


30 July 2020

BSI response on extension of self-isolation period following COVID-19 symptoms

Our response to an announcement from the UK's Chief Medical Officers that they are extending the period of self-isolation required for people who have COVID-19 symptoms or have received a positive COVID-19 test from seven to ten days post-symptom onset. 

Read our full statement >


20 July 2020

BSI response to phase 1/2 results from Oxford University COVID vaccine trial

Our response to the results of a phase 1/2 single-blind, randomised controlled trial of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine being developed by researchers at Oxford University and published in The Lancet.  

Read our full statement >


23 June 2020

Oral evidence submitted to the UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee

Inquiry: The science of COVID-19

Watch the live recording >


15 June 2020

Oral evidence submitted to the UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee

Inquiry: The science of COVID-19

Watch the live recording >


15 June 2020

BSI response to paper commenting on COVID-19 immunity

New research analysing COVID-19 antibody tests from 177 diagnosed individuals has been released in a joint paper from St George’s, University of London and several other bodies. This research has currently been released on medRxiv as a pre-print and has not yet been through peer-review.

Read our full statement >


15 June 2020

BSI response to new COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial from Imperial College London

Imperial College London has announced its COVID-19 vaccine programme will move into human clinical trials this week. The study will be the first time the vaccine has been trialled in humans and will test whether it is well-tolerated and produces an effective immune response against COVID-19.

Read our full statement >


01 June 2020

New COVID-19 database for preclinical therapies

The Academy of Medical Sciences has launched a new database for early stage UK COVID-19 preclinical therapeutics research, to boost collaboration and map the preclinical discovery landscape. The British Society for Immunology is a supporter of this project.

Learn more >


19 May 2020

Oral evidence submitted to the UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee

Inquiry: The science of COVID-19

Watch the live recording >


14 May 2020

BSI response to approval of an antibody test for COVID-19 by Public Health England

Public Health England have announced that they have approved an antibody test, made by the pharmaceutical company Roche, to assess whether individuals have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in their blood.

Read the full statement >


01 May 2020

COVID-19 immunology expert review: What we know and priorities for research

A new report from the British Society for Immunology and Academy of Medical Science summarising what we do and don't know about immunology and COVID-19 and identifying research priorities.

Read the full review >


28 April 2020

Oral evidence submitted to the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee

Inquiry: Science, Research and Technology Capability and Influence in Global Disease Outbreaks

Watch the live recording >


22 April 2020

BSI response to paper commenting on COVID-19 risk in people aged 60-69

Our response to a commentary from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine on the evidence around current UK Government guidelines for social distancing/isolation for COVID-19 for people aged 60-69.​

Read the full statement >


17 April 2020

BSI response to government announcement on new Vaccine Taskforce

The UK Government has announced the creation of a new Vaccine Taskforce to take forward efforts to develop and manufacture a coronavirus vaccine.  They have also announced new funding for 21 other projects that aim to help our response to and develop new treatments against COVID-19. In response, the British Society for Immunology has released a statement welcoming these initiatives.

Read the full statement >


11 April 2020

Your help needed: Crowdsource challenge to assist COVID-19 lab testing

We're promoting this call from DHSC, Bioindustry Association, Royal College of Pathologists & BIVDA  to find new and novel solutions to help deliver 100,000 coronavirus tests a day in the UK by the end of April. A new crowdsourcing platform has been set up to allow researchers to share ideas in response to four key challenges.

Read more > 


27 March 2020

BSI response to new COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial from University of Oxford

Today, the University of Oxford has announced their COVID-19 vaccine programme has opened for clinical trial recruitment. In response, the British Society for Immunology released the following statement welcoming the announcement.

Read our full statement >


23 March 2020

BSI response to new coronavirus research projects funded by UK government

The UK government announced that it is providing funding to six new research projects to develop active interventions against the novel coronavirus.  In response, the British Society for Immunology released a short statement welcoming the announcement.

Read our full statement >


20 March 2020

BSI survey on lab expertise to assist with COVID-19 testing

We know many of our members are keen to lend their expertise and resources to the public health authorities to assist with the increase number of tests for COVID-19 that the Government wishes to carry out over the coming weeks.  We wrote to the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, as well as each of the chief medical officers in the devolved nations, to highlight this resource.  We also also lauched a short survey to identify immunologists who would like to assist with efforts to help testing for COVID-19 but don't know how or are having problems linking up with resources locally. 

Read more about our survey >


20 March 2020

SARS-CoV-2 outbreak: a message from our President

Our President, Professor Arne Akbar, wrote to all BSI members to convey a message of support to our community and to tell them what actions the British Society for Immunology had taken to ensure the voice of immunologists is heard.

Read the message from our President >


16 March 2020

BSI response to new measures to limit spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus

The British Society for Immunology issued a response statement to the news that the UK Government had announced a series of new social distancing measures for the public to adopt to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Read our full statement >


14 March 2020

BSI open letter to Government on SARS-CoV-2 outbreak response

The British Society for Immunology wrote an open letter from our President, Professor Arne Akbar, to voice the thoughts of our immunology community to Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Advisor and Rt Hon Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care to reflect significant questions that the immunology community had over the strategy being used to tackle the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. 

Read our full open letter >


13 March 2020

BSI response to herd immunity and SARS-CoV-2​

The British Society for Immunology issued a response statement to discussions in the media around how herd immunity might be generated and protect the population against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Read our full statement >