EMBL’s contribution to fighting the coronavirus pandemic

As Europe’s leading fundamental research institution in the life sciences, EMBL is using its skills, expertise, and resources to assist the global research and response effort to the coronavirus pandemic.

EMBL coronavirus actions

The molecular life sciences have a central role in delivering new treatments or vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. In these videos, we share some of EMBL’s in-house actions.

View more videos in this collection on YouTube

The information on this page is updated as activities commence or change. All lab-based activities are fully safety assessed before starting, and additional physical distancing and other safety rules have been introduced during the pandemic.

Please note that EMBL’s EBI site at Hinxton in the United Kingdom is closed. Our sites at Barcelona, Grenoble, Hamburg, Heidelberg and Rome are partially open only to staff involved in laboratory-based research activity.

With the exception of staff maintaining essential services, working on coronavirus-related research projects or in lab-based activity at the five partially-reopened sites, EMBL staff are working from home. Due to childcare and similar requirements, some staff are currently unavailable. If you have an enquiry, please email the relevant unit.

New measures

Data resources

Data resources

COVID-19 Data Portal

EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) created the COVID-19 Data Portal. It collects and shares rapidly available research data to enable synergies, cross-fertilisation and use of diverse data sets with different degrees of aggregation, validation and/or completeness.

The platform consists of two connected components, the SARS-CoV-2 Data Hubs, which organises the flow of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak sequence data and provides comprehensive open data sharing worldwide, and a broader COVID-19 Data Portal.


EMBL scientists working in the Hentze and Huber groups have created RBPbase – a database of over 4000 RNA-binding proteins.

RBPbase will help researchers to identify cellular proteins that interact with the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome. This may lead to a better understanding of how coronavirus multiplies in cells, and enable the design of novel therapeutic strategies.

Read the news article.

Data resources

Research and services

EMBL sites and staff support

The EMBL-EBI site at Hinxton in the United Kingdom is closed. Our sites at Barcelona, Grenoble, Hamburg, Heidelberg and Rome are partially open only to staff involved in laboratory-based research activity. EMBL management regularly reviews the situation at each site.

Government advice

All of EMBL’s host governments have introduced controls in response to the coronavirus. EMBL staff have been instructed to follow local government advice – for example on whether to shop or seek medical services.

Staff support

The safety of our staff, their families, our research colleagues, and our local communities is of paramount importance. Staff can learn more about COVID-19 support at EMBL here.

Staff are working from home whenever that is possible. The #EMBLatHome hashtag on Twitter captures some of their moments.

Training and volunteering

Resources and opportunities for members of the EMBL community who cannot access their research or work while COVID-19-related restrictions are in place.


EMBL has established a volunteering scheme to enable staff to support anti-coronavirus related activities outside of EMBL, such as assisting local accredited diagnostic laboratories at a time of staff shortages.

Staff information

Courses, conferences and public visits

EMBL has cancelled all visits to all sites by non-staff groups.

This includes physical participation in the Courses and Conferences programme at Heidelberg, the EMBL-EBI Training courses, and all other seminars, courses and public visits at all sites.

In addition to helping minimise the spread of the virus, these measures also recognise that many of our prospective visitors are finding it increasingly difficult to travel.

EMBL is supporting our Member States throughout the coronavirus pandemic, through direct activity, coordination of responses and data, and sharing of expert advice, as part of our mission to integrate European life science research.

Virtual conferences

We are also organising courses, conferences and training activities online. For information on which conferences and courses are being held virtually, and which have been postponed to a later date, visit our events calendar.

Information for participants

Stay updated

This page will be updated as the coronavirus situation evolves, and you can get more updates by subscribing to our newsletter and following us online.

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Coronavirus and COVID-19 news across EMBL

More EMBL news relating to COVID-19