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How does coronavirus harm us, and how do our bodies respond?

12 June 2020

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee continues its inquiry into the Science of COVID-19, by studying the immune response to the virus and the impacts of the virus upon our bodies.

Purpose of session

The committee will hear from further leading researchers about the human body's immune response to the virus, including why some people have the severe inflammatory immune reaction, whether the immune response contributes to greater vulnerability in old age, and the prospects of people developing immunity.

The committee will then hear from leading researchers and clinicians about the impact of the virus upon the human body, including why some people suffer worse effects (and some lesser effects, including children), and the potential long-term consequences of the illness.


Monday 15 June at 3.00pm
Virtual meeting

  • Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford
  • Professor Adrian Hayday, Chair in the Department of Immunobiology, Kings College London; and Group Leader, Immunosurveillance Laboratory, Francis Crick Institute
  • Professor Massimo Palmarini, Chair of Virology and Director of MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, University of Glasgow

At 4.00pm

  • Professor Mauro Giacca, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, King's College London
  • Professor Beverley Hunt OBE, Consultant in Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Manu Shankar-Hari, NIHR Clinician Scientist, Reader and Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, King's College London
  • Dr Elizabeth Whittaker, Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, St Mary's Hospital; and Lecturer in Paediatric Infection and Immunity, Imperial College

Possible questions

  • In what ways does the immune response vary by age, and why?
  • What constitutes "effective immunity" against reinfection by SARS-CoV-2?
  • Why do some categories of people appear more susceptible to severe forms of the disease?
  • What is our understanding of why some people experience less severe disease, including children?
  • To what extent do we understand the long-term health consequences of COVID-19 infection?

Further information