Tackling Covid-19

UK Research and Innovation

Two years on from the discovery of the first treatment for COVID-19 we tell the story of how it has saved millions of lives around the globe. We look at the study that found it, and what that means for future diseases.

The trial that saved lives
Two years on: the COVID-19 treatment that saved millions
Two years ago, the discovery of the first lifesaving treatment for COVID-19, was announced to the world. In the following nine months, dexamethasone, saved an estimated one million lives worldwide, including 22,000 in the UK. 
In Depth: the RECOVERY trial by the researchers who worked on it
Dexamethasone was announced as effective one lunchtime and four hours later was protocol in all NHS hospitals. Read the inside story of the trial that discovered it, from the people who were working on it: ‘To a young researcher like me, that day felt like being part of history. It was a gift from the UK to the world.
What RECOVERY means for the future of clinical trials
As the COVID-19 situation in the UK changes, so is RECOVERY changing. In this piece, Professor Richard Haynes explains how the study is being expanded globally, to help those countries where vaccine coverage is less good.
WATCH: Dexamethasone saved my life
John and Esther
John Hanna was on a ventilator and seriously ill when his wife was asked if he’d take part in the RECOVERY trial. `It’s as if I am watching him die in front of me and there’s nothing I can do,’ his wife Esther recalls. The trial allocated him Dexamethasone – and the results were dramatic. Watch John and Esther’s story here.
What is a clinical trial? COVID-19 explained
Have you ever wondered how a clinical trial actually works? Our latest explainer video sets out the types of clinical trial, the safety rules, and what happens when you join.
Llama antibodies could treat COVID-19 and other research findings
Llama antibodies could form COVID-19 treatment
A unique antibody produced by llamas could be developed as a new treatment for COVID-19 and be taken by patients as a simple nasal spray. The team at the Rosalind Franklin Institute, engineered new nanobodies using a collection of antibodies taken from llama blood cells. Hong Lin featured in our 101 jobs video and explains her role on the project.
COVID-19 immunity study reinforces the need for booster jabs
An MRC-supported study led by Glasgow Caledonian University, found that double-jabbed people who had previously been infected had greater protection against the virus, standing at over 90% after two doses. This protection remained strong over a year after infection.
Optimising non-invasive respiratory support for COVID-19 patients
Engineering researchers at the University of Warwick have used computational modelling to show that non-invasive respiratory support is more likely to be successful if it allows significant reductions in patients’ breathing efforts. 
UK engineers produce high-performance ventilators
Engineers and scientists from Cheshire, Liverpool and Birmingham are collaborating with teams in Brazil and Switzerland to develop affordable yet resilient high-performance ventilators.
Drones deliver urgent medical supplies to Scilly Isles
Drones developed in Southampton and Cornwall, supported by ISCF, carried PPE and COVID-19 testing kits to the Isles of Scilly. This has proved they can be rapidly mobilised to deliver time-sensitive supplies like vaccines.
For more stories on how research is helping us tackle COVID-19, see our Medium publication COVID-19: Stories from the pandemic
And watch our videos on our  COVID-19 YouTube playlist COVID-19: the science you need to know