Find out what the Trust is doing to improve our understanding and management of coronavirus.


There are three main types of coronavirus testing and these tests split broadly in to two categories – those that can detect the presence of the virus currently and those that detect a previous response to the virus by your immune system.

All patients are tested for coronavirus when admitted to one of our hospitals, including those who have no symptoms. Our inpatient page offers more information about changes we’ve made to the way we run our hospitals in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

As soon as we were able, we launched an on-site testing programme for staff displaying symptoms of coronavirus, as well as any member of their household displaying symptoms. This testing programme continues and we encourage any staff with symptoms, or with a member of their household who has symptoms, however mild, to request a test through our intranet.

The Trust is supporting a programme of home testing for coronavirus, which will track the progress and prevalence of the infection across England, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care and led by colleagues at Imperial College London with Ipsos MORI.

Frontline developments

  • Doctors at Imperial College Healthcare have been piloting the use of mixed reality to carry out ward rounds for patients with coronavirus in the hope this could help to reduce the number of clinicians needed at a patient’s bedside.
  • In April 2020, the Trust, Imperial College London and Fundamental VR partnered to develop an online training tool to quickly teach doctors how to operate ventilators under the direction of an intensive care consultant.
  • In May 2020, the Trust’s infection prevention and control (IPC) team worked with volunteers at Imperial College London’s Advanced Hackspace to develop, optimise and evaluate more than 50,000 disposable visors for use at the Trust’s hospitals. 


The Trust is participating in two clinical trials to recruit volunteers and test a vaccine against COVID-19:

  • The first study, led by the University of Oxford, sees trials conducted at multiple centres across the UK, including the NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility at Hammersmith Hospital.
  • The second study, led by Professor Robin Shattock at Imperial College London, is developing a different vaccine, which will be tested in human trials beginning in June, also at the NIHR Clinical Research Facility at Hammersmith Hospital. 

Public health

The Trust is participating in research into the public health implications of coronavirus:

  • In April 2020, research found that being male or obese reduces the chance of survival from severe coronavirus disease. The findings come from a study of data about almost 17,000 patients with COVID-19 drawn from hospitals across the UK, including Charing Cross and St Mary’s hospitals. You can also learn more about this project in a podcast interview with Professor Peter Openshaw, one of the researchers leading the study.
  • Black patients may be at increased risk of poorer health outcomes from COVID-19, according to an analysis of patients hospitalised in London. The analysis, carried out by researchers at Imperial College London, characterises the main risk factors associated with deaths for patients admitted for COVID-19 to three hospitals in the Trust, evaluating whether outcomes vary by ethnicity. 

Understanding the disease

Staff at the Trust and Imperial College London are undertaking studies to improve understanding of the disease: