U21 Champions on the time of COVID-19; Professor Alex Richter, University of Birmingham

Alex Richter, University of Birmingham
Professor Alex Richter, University of Birmingham

Universitas 21 is celebrating U21 Champions in a series of stories about people who have gone above and beyond to make a real difference to their colleagues and their workplace during the pandemic.

Professor Alex Richter, University of Birmingham, was nominated by Professor David Wraith, Director of the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy for her and her team's work on understanding the COVID-19 pandemic, including being the first group to reveal the extent of the infection amongst health care workers in the UK.

'I wish to nominate Prof Alex Richter as leader of the Antibody Testing Group, including Profs Adam Cunningham and Mark Drayson, colleagues at the Clinical Immunology Service at the University of Birmingham and also at The Binding Site, a leading UK-based diagnostics company. Alex led the team to develop a highly sensitive anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody test. Within record time this test was developed, validated and is now being marketed worldwide by The Binding Site. Importantly, they have applied this test to improve our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic in both adults and children.

For example, they were the first group to reveal the extent of the infection amongst health care workers in the UK. Furthermore, they provided unequivocal proof that the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (PIMS / MIS-c) correlates with prior COVID-19 infection. Alex and her team continue to work tirelessly on the use of this test to help control this pandemic. She and her team deserve the highest praise and reward for their work.'

Professor Richter responded, 'I am delighted to be nominated as an U21 champion. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on all our personal and working lives.  Whilst it has been extremely busy, the highlight for me has been working with fantastic teams across the University, other academic institutions and the NHS, forming friendships and partnerships that will be a lasting positive legacy.'

Congratulations to Alex and her team and a huge thank you for helping us all to deal with this awful pandemic.




R Edwards