Covid-IP was conceived of on March 13th 2020, and was running by March 25th, when the first three patient samples were received from St Thomas’ Hospital. Essential to this very rapid development was the coming together of some landmark components:
- Young post-doctoral and PhD students from King’s College and from the Francis Crick Institute ceased their own scientific investigations and immediately and altruistically re-tooled to work together on Covid-IP, risking exposure to an infectious virus. We started with a team of 5 and, within 3 weeks, it was a team of 17!
- Clinical directors in Infectious Disease and Intensive Care in King’s Health Partners pledged their active support and facilitated our liaison with clinical teams
- Research nurses selflessly agreed to engage patients on the wards so as to obtain samples for the Covid-IP study, often directly assisted by members of the research team
- The King’s Infectious Disease Biobank facilitated the rapid turn-around of ethical approvals and provided SoPs for sample collection
- Key staff at King’s College trained our team in high containment bio-safety procedures and worked with us at all hours of the day to complete risk assessments
- The Biomedical Research Centre at GSTT and King’s College made sophisticated equipment available to us for our analyses
- The King’s-Together fund and the Rosetrees Trust made small but pivotal grants to us after turn-around review times of just a few days
- Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust kindly permitted us to redirect research funds from their original purpose to this project
- Staff at the European Bioinformatics Institute have worked very hard and creatively to develop the website whereby our data can be disseminated to the public and from which any interested parties can access our methods to be deployed in other centres experiencing Covid-19.
Clearly, we are extremely grateful to many parties. Such rapid coming together of events has been extraordinary, and we hope that the spirit that it has fuelled in all of us engaged in Covid-IP can be communicated, together with the methods and results that we present.