Reflecting on the Crick’s societal impact in 2020, it is clear that the biggest achievement of all is undoubtedly the work everyone here at the Crick has done on COVID diagnostics and research. So, the Sir David Cooksey prize was combined with a special recognition event to celebrate everybody who has contributed to COVID research or diagnostic testing at the Crick.
The virtual event was an opportunity to recognise Crick scientists who have put COVID patients at the centre of their research, accelerating true bench to bedside science. We also recognised staff who have set-up and maintained diagnostic testing at the Crick, enabling healthcare workers to look after patients; pre-operative testing for patients, and ensuring Crick research can continue in the building.
Veronique Birault, Translation Director at the Crick, said: "We have been able to play to our strengths: our excellence in discovery research, our diverse science base, our focus on human biology and our links with hospitals have all put us in a strong position to drive progress in the fight against COVID-19. Our work on the testing pipeline will undoubtedly have saved lives already. Our research should help save many more lives in the years to come. This has been translational science in action."
In terms of Crick COVID research, this is translation in the broader sense – understanding the virus and the disease it causes, potentially leading to better diagnostics and treatments. There have been several COVID-related projects that have started this year. These have included pushing the boundaries for antibody detection and understanding immunity; stratification of patients and prognostic markers; and researching new potential treatments.
Sir David Cooksey, the Crick’s previous chairman, said: “Overall the culture at the Crick this year has demonstrated how it takes risks to achieve real impact for patients and everyone throughout the Crick can be proud of the part they have played in this tremendous effort."
Alongside short talks on Crick COVID research, we heard the story of the testing pipeline from some of those who helped make it happen. Crick Board Member Kate Bingham, in her role as Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, talked about the search for the vaccine.
Paul Nurse, Director of the Crick, said: “What has been shown is what people with a common will and purpose can achieve. Many thanks and congratulations to all involved. You have made major contributions to the Crick, but also to patients, and to carers in north London, and to society as a whole. We are so proud of what you have achieved”.
Thank you to the speakers, including Sir David Cooksey and Crick presenters: