Imperial College London is a world-class university with a mission to benefit society through excellence in science, engineering, medicine and business. It is consistently rated amongst the world's best universities and has an international reputation for teaching and research excellence. One of Imperial’s strengths is immunology, bringing together world leaders via Centres of Excellence from within the Faculties of Medicine and Natural Sciences.
We will help to answer fundamental questions about how the immune system reacts during COVID-19 through the detailed analysis of samples collected from patient during hospitalisation and from some patients recruited before SARS-CoV-2 infection. These studies will characterise the response to SARS-CoV-2 before symptoms present, and how other health conditions, ethnicity and sex can influence outcomes. We will also be focusing on immune responses in the respiratory tract and how local immunity changes over the course of infection, which is likely to be critical in understanding disease severity and the long-term effects of COVID-19. Finally, we will be studying the ability of the immune system to remember SARS-CoV-2 and prevent re-infection in the future.
Characterising the features of the immune response during infection will build an understanding of how this relates to clinical outcome, and why some individuals are more severely affected than others. This work will shed light on how the role the immune system plays in both the pathology of COVID-19 and the clearance of this infection. Understanding the mechanisms behind these protective and harmful roles of the immune response in COVID-19 could inform the development of new therapies and vaccines.