Supporting the national COVID-19 testing effort

The Brief

In March 2020, as the UK was getting to grips with the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, UK Biocentre was asked to halt its existing work and start testing COVID-19 samples.

Barley was asked to develop a communications strategy to help UK Biocentre communicate the support it has provided to support the national testing effort.  

Insights and Approach

We worked closely with communications colleagues at the Department of Health and Social Care, and Downing Street with both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State conducting media visits to the laboratory.

We interviewed and filmed young scientists at the laboratory to highlight the huge effort to ramp up testing at scale.

To explain the testing process, we worked with Go Forth to develop an animation and a video.

The Outcome

UK Biocentre has tested more than 10 million COVID-19 samples helping the UK get back on its feet and the laboratory was the first to identify the Kent variant. Media interest in the work of the laboratories has of course been intensive and sometimes critical. Our work has included working very closely with DHSC colleagues to respond to enquiries from UK and international outlets.