Pandemic response

The MRC Versus Arthritis Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research has


Understanding the acute response to corona virus

Professor Janet Lord has been involved in a task force preparing a paper on the Immune response in COVID-19, including why older adults may develop more severe symptoms, organised by the BSI and Academy of Medical Sciences. The report was published on May 1st and presented to the SAGE committee on June 4th 2020.

As a result of this report a UK wide consortium was set up, the UK COVID Immunology Consortium (UK CIC), led by Professor Paul Moss and involving 17 centres across the UK. The UK-CIC will carry out deep immunophenotyping of samples stored during the pandemic to understand the immune response to corona virus with Professor Lord focussing on the response of older adults older. The research is being funded by an award of £6.5 million from UKRI-MRC. 

Professor Liz Sapey – DeCOVID: This study involves the creation of a combined research database supporting the collection of health data on COVID-19 patients across multiple organisations, initially encompassing The Alan Turing Institute (Oxford University), University Hospitals Birmingham and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  The project brings together Health Informatics with Data/ Science Analysts, and Clinicians across the UK to bring increased understanding of the impacts of COVID-19. The NIHR Birmingham BRC is providing PPI support to the project.

Long-term consequences

The Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research is working with a number of other research groups across a number of universities to work on a post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study: a national consortium to understand and improve long-term health outcomes (P-HOSP: COVID-19 Study).

Interventions for COVID-19

Professor Janet Lord has been constructing a funding application for a prophylactic trial aimed at both older NHS workers and care home residents using an agent (RTB101) previously shown to boost adaptive immunity in elders. The trial involves a company (Restorbio) who will supply drug and placebo free, as well as Sheffield, Birmingham, Nottingham, Newcastle and Oxford Universities.


Professor Janet Lord guest edited a special issue on Ageing and COVID-19 for the journal Geroscience. She also hosted a webinar on how to improve immunity in old age through diet and exercise for the American Federation for Ageing Research.
Janet also made a short video for on how to exercise at home (with chickens!) – this can be viewed on You Tube below.