3 min read

The global coronavirus crisis has broken the hearts of millions worldwide. Fortunately, this unprecedented economic and public health situation has brought out the best in the world’s entrepreneurs, who have shown a healthy dose of innovation and agility to repurpose their technologies and manufacturing runs in order to underpin the COVID-19 relief efforts.

In the UK, many industries have sought to make a difference during the lockdown by transforming their headquarters into vibrant hubs for all manner of textiles and public health products that have been in such high demand amid the COVID-19 peak.

Aerospace and Formula 1 manufacturers

Back at the end of March, when the UK entered the critical first phase of its coronavirus lockdown, the UK government ordered 10,000 ventilators from a string of F1 teams and aerospace companies. The likes of Airbus, Ford, McLaren, and Mercedes were able to equip their engineers with the tools and materials to design and manufacture ventilators, as well as other breathing aids, to support coronavirus victims struggling most with their breathing in hospitals.

Fashion brands

The COVID-19 crisis has posed untold issues for the fashion industry, not least with millions of pounds worth of stock going unsold. However, many fashion brands, big and small, have sought to make a difference to the COVID-19 relief effort. They have come together to repurpose manufacturing plans to produce face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that has been needed so desperately across hospitals, nursing homes, and care homes in the UK.

Breweries and distilleries

As the coronavirus spread to all four corners of the UK, fears grew about the general shortage of hand sanitisers, particularly as pharmacists and supermarkets opted to limit the amount that shoppers could purchase. Brewers and spirit producers across the UK opted to halt their production of beers, gins, and other spirits to create hand sanitiser instead. Rules were relaxed to permit these companies to produce it, with all products requiring a minimum of 60% alcohol to be effective at combating lingering viruses on hands.


It’s also important to note that pharmaceutical companies have gone into overdrive in terms of their research and development (R&D) amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the middle of last month, over 1,000 clinical trials were underway, testing over 150 possible treatments or vaccines for COVID-19 relief. Even major corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline launched a new collaborative COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, designed to bring major pharmaceuticals together with academics. Oxford University’s research and randomised clinical trials helped them ascertain the potential for low-dose dexamethasone as a treatment for those with severe respiratory complications due to COVID-19.

All four of these case studies just go to show the flair and flexibility that exists within the British economy today. No company should ever be afraid of breaking conventions and pushing creative boundaries.

If your business has repurposed its technologies during the coronavirus crisis or sought to develop new ways of doing things for internal benefits or for your customers, it’s highly likely that your projects will be eligible for R&D tax relief.