The UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC) is a nationally targeted effort to understand the immunology of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, and deliver real benefits to patients and public health at pace. The UK is world-leading in terms of the quality of its immunology research, and the consortium is bringing together the expertise and specialist resources of 20 centres around the UK.
This innovative project has received £6.5million of funding over 12 months from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which is the largest immunology grant awarded to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The project aims to deliver meaningful benefits for public health through insights crucial for improving patient management, developing new therapies, assessing immunity within the population, and developing diagnostics and vaccines.
UK-CIC focuses on five key research themes:
- Primary immunity: Characterising the primary immune response to COVID-19 and how this relates to clinical outcome of individual patients
- Protective immunity: Identifying how effective immunity is established and maintained to prevent re-infection
- Immunopathology: Understanding how the immune system can damage tissue while fighting COVID-19 and how this can be stopped
- Cross-reactive coronavirus immunity: Examining if immunity to other mild ‘seasonal’ coronaviruses (that cause common colds) can alter the outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection
- Immune evasion: Revealing how SARS-CoV-2 can ‘evade’ the immune system
The consortium is led by Professor Paul Moss from the University of Birmingham and collaborates closely with ISARIC4C, an internationally-leading project examining the immune profile of hospitalised patients with COVID-19.
The BSI is delighted to be a supporting partner of the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium.
This support takes a number of forms:
- BSI President, Professor Arne Akbar, is chair of the UK-CIC Scientific Advisory Board, which delivers independent oversight of the consortium, and input to its strategic priorities. The BSI also provides secretarial services to this Board.
- Ensuring that the views of patients and the public influence the direction of research through running the patient public involvement programme for UK-CIC.
- Running communications for UK-CIC including internal and external communications, media engagement, and the website and social media presence. This includes providing communications to engage with all key audiences from researchers to policy makers to the public.
- Managing a UK-CIC virtual conference on SARS-CoV-2 immunology in 2021.