The Liverpool scientists at the forefront of the fight against Covid

The pace that science has had to move at over the past year to deal with Covid-19 has been utterly astonishing.

For many of us it has been the most we have ever actually engaged with the subject since leaving school.

At the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine extensive studies are being carried out to discover the effects the disease has on us including taking part in the Oxford vaccine trials, the next of which begins on Monday 15 February looking into whether 'mixing and matching' jabs works.

It is the kind of vital research that informs the policy makers.

Traditionally science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers have been dominated by men, but at LSTM many of the staff leading the research happen to be women.

For International Day of Women and Girls in Science we took a look at some of the vital work being done to battle and better inform us about coronavirus.


Dr Andrea Collins is working on the next stage of the Oxford vaccine trials which will consider the implications of mixing the brand of vaccine delivered to patients as well as how effective they are on new strains of the virus.

Some 800 people from from the Liverpool area have been recruited to the study with data expected to be released in the Summer.


Dr Emily Adams, Infectious Disease Diagnostics at LSTM

Dr Emily Adams and her team have been testing the controversial lateral flow tests to see which ones are the most accurate.

"There are so many on the market it can be confusing," Dr Adams explains.

The study which recruited patients suspected of having Covid who'd gone for tests at drive through centres found the top tests to be 80% accurate.

"We can't pick up all infections but what we can do is find those people who have high viral loads who are likely to be the most transmissible people and we can take them out and so we can reduce risk."

Dr Adams and her staff also led the STRIKE study (SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Risk from sports Equipment) which recently revealed sports equipment posed a low risk of transmission of the disease and in fact they found it 'impossible' to grow the disease from absorbent tennis and cricket balls.


Dr Carla Solorzano-Gonzales, Clinical Sciences at LSTM

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is also an Oxford-AstraZeneca testing site - which means teams measure antibodies in those who have had the vaccine.

Dr Carla Solorzano-Gonzales, who works in Clinical Sciences at the school, was responsible for helping to measure if those infected with Covid are producing immune responses to fight the virus.


Dr Helen Hill is the Co-principal Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial.

A total of 1,000 volunteers who supported trial in Liverpool in May 2020, as it became one of the 18 sites across the UK to test the vaccine.

Dr Helen said: "It's incredible, you're actually seeing what you've done in the year generated into now millions of people being vaccinated within less than a year of actually having the concept of the vaccine."