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Our impact

Enabling scientific discoveries that improve public health

Data drives discovery. UK Biobank’s unique, biomedical database – the largest, most detailed and openly accessible research resource of its kind – is enabling the global research community to make scientific discoveries that improve public health. Here you can find case studies of how UK Biobank is helping scientists and researchers to evolve our understanding of human health and the most common life-threatening diseases. Find out more on this page.

UK Biobank is changing the way we do science

It took us almost 15 years to MRI scan and analyse 3-4,000 people at the Robert Steiner MRI, took the UK Biobank only a matter of months to do this and more. #revolutionisingscience

The fight against sepsis

Researchers around the world are finding imaginative ways to use the UK Biobank database. A research group in Vancouver have put UK Biobank data on cholesterol to work to target blood poisoning, a medical emergency responsible for millions of deaths a year. 

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The role of diet on health

Public health recommendations around diet are frequent and varied throughout the press. Through detailed diet questionnaires, UK Biobank is enabling researchers to understand the relevance and accuracy of these messages for people's long term health. 

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Spotting dementia earlier

Dementia affects many millions of people a year around the world. The wealth of data in UK Biobank, such as cognitive function tests, genetics, and imaging, is providing researchers with the opportunity to spot dementia before symptoms appear. 

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UK Biobank is the thing we always dreamed of…

The idea that there would one day be a big population collection with information on so many phenotypes, coupled to genetic information, and that all of that information would be shared freely with researchers in the simplest, most fluid way

Eric Lander, Founding Director Broad Institute

Accelerating discovery to help manage a global pandemic

UK Biobank is providing the global research community with an unprecedented opportunity to study clinical and genetic factors that affect the outcome and spread of COVID-19. Through health records linkage, we have facilitated the integration of hospital and GP record data for half a million participants into the resource for coronavirus research. Working with health experts, UK Biobank moved quickly to gain access to these valuable data to help fight the crisis. 

Over 670 international research groups have accessed the COVID-19 health records data in UK Biobank, generating over 60 published scientific papers in the public domain. The vast range of expertise already being applied to UK Biobank data means that these data will help develop strategies to address this pandemic. 

Crucial coronavirus research

It’s vital we learn as much as possible about the infection, both for the short and the longer term, this new research will tell us about key risk factors and help us continue to manage the outbreak in an evidence-based way.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser

Understanding immunity to COVID-19 

 

UK Biobank is conducting a research study to understand how long antibody levels persist after infection with COVID-19. This study will provide vital data to the international research community to assist in managing the pandemic. 

 

The study is determining the rates of infection in people from different parts of the country according to age, sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status and monitoring how these rates change over time. Among people found to have been infected, we will also assess how long antibodies remain in the body to help understand the potential for immunity. 

 

This research is unique in monitoring antibody levels over time, contributing to our scientific knowledge of immunity after infection. Through the wealth of data UK Biobank holds on its participants, the global research community will also be able to investigate how genetic, lifestyle, and existing medical conditions affect the severity of this virus on one group over another. 

 

Read the first results

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