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Last updated: 28 April 2020

The national effort to respond to the spread of COVID-19 urgently requires support


You may be able to offer help through the routes below. Of course, everyone can also help by following the advice that staying at home saves lives.  

The needs and recommendations are changing daily in response to new knowledge and evolving situations, so please be aware that these advisories my change. 

You can also check for new opportunities using the hashtags #YourNHSNeedsYou #TestingMethods2020

Additionally, The Biologist’s COVID Q&A series is looking at how the bioscience community has sprung into action since the crisis began. Contact if you would like to be featured or have any information to contribute to this series.

Routes by which to offer help


Volunteer or help in person

Use the GoodsamApp to offer your time for free to the NHS. Currently there is a need for drivers and volunteers to deliver medical supplies and for patient transport (DBS check required for the latter), and a need for call centre support (general, non-clinical).

Register with the NHS as part of their 'rapid response' effort. If you are currently registered with the GMC, NMC, HCPC or you are a final year student nurse and have been working in a relevant healthcare setting, you are eligible to apply.

Rejoin the NHS workforce if possible. Clinicians, within 3 years of being registered, are eligible. These include nurses and midwives, doctors, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Other health and care professionals can register their interest on the NHS wesbite. 

Contribute your expertise

There are various opportunities which academics and researchers can engage in to contribute their expertise and insights to the UK Parliament related to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impacts, including signing up to an Outbreak Expert Database

Crowdfight COVID-19 - an initiative from the scientific community to put all available resources at the service of the fight against COVID-19. You can register to help or request additional support, with research points of contact across the world.

Open Ventilator System Initiative (OVSI). Researchers at the University of Cambridge are looking for volunteers and collaborators for OVSI, an initiative to develop affordable, open-source ventilator systems for use in low-income countries.

Offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support from your business. An online portal has been launched on GOV.UK providing companies with specifications for Government’s most urgent requirements. Use this service to tell Government how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus.

Aid with testing

Help the government increase COVID-19 testing capacity. The government wants help from businesses to increase testing capacity in the UK as part of its strategy to protect the NHS and save lives. Help is needed to supply materials and equipment, to supply complete testing methods, and to provide laboratory capacity, in addition to other forms of support.

Help the government identify novel solutions for testing methods. The Department of Health and Social Care, the UK Bioindustry Association, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association and the Royal College of Pathologists are seeking new and novel solutions to help deliver 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April.

They are looking for solutions to help with the following:

  • Dry swabs for use in virus detection
  • Transport media that inactivates the virus
  • Desktop PCR equipment for point of care testing
  • RNA extraction: new methods

Submit your solution via the Testing Methods Sourcing Platform.

Citizen science and data collection

Share symptoms via a new Coronavirus Status Checker. Launched by Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, the Status Checker will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Take a minute to report your health daily, even if you're well. The COVID Symptom Tracker app, designed by doctors and scientists at King's College London, will be used to study the symptoms of the virus and track how it spreads.

Submit breathing and coughing sounds via the new COVID-19 Sounds app. Launched by the University of Cambridge, researchers are collating the specific sounds made by those infected with the virus to develop machine learning algorithms that could be used for automatic detection of the disease.

EUvsVirus Hackathon. The European Commission, led by the European Innovation Council and in close collaboration with the EU member states, will host a pan-European hackathon to connect civil society, innovators, partners and investors across Europe in order to develop innovative solutions for coronavirus-related challenges.

For more information on how the RSB is responding to the pandemic, visit our dedicated COVID webpage.

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