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Seeking silver linings


Robert Lechler looks to the future after leading the Academy of Medical Sciences through Covid-19

Two dark clouds loomed over Robert Lechler’s five-year presidency at the Academy of Medical Sciences. “The first was Brexit and then came the Covid-19 pandemic, which has somewhat dominated the research landscape,” says the immunologist, who left his role in December 2020.

And yet, he insists, “despite all the dark days and gloom, there are some positives to come out of the pandemic”. In particular, Lechler (pictured) hails the success of researchers in identifying and understanding the virus. He points out that the UK has sequenced more viral genomes than any other country in the world—last month the number surpassed half a million—allowing new variants of the virus to be picked up fast. This has been crucial to managing the UK’s response to new and threatening variants, such as Delta.

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