Germ Defence

Helping people to protect themselves from Covid-19 at home and school

What is Germ Defence?

Germ Defence is a website designed to help people protect themselves and others from viruses like COVID-19. Scientific evidence suggests that people who follow the advice from Germ Defence are less likely to catch the flu or other viruses, and less likely to pass it onto members of their household.

Germ Defence logo

Why is it important?

Helping teachers and students to stay safe at school is important. With lots of individuals mixing everyday there is a risk of viruses like COVID-19 spreading to others very quickly. Therefore, it is important that support is available in school settings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The study recruited pupils, parents and staff, who gave their feedback about the Germ defence app in a 60- minute zoom call.


By rapidly adapting Germ Defence app, we were able to provide an acceptable resource to help mitigate against infection transmission within school communities. Infection control behaviours promoted by Germ Defence were generally deemed feasible and acceptable by students, school staff, and parents in the context of ongoing risks from COVID-19.

Acceptability and willingness to implement recommended behaviours seemed to be influenced by participants’ perceptions of risk. Barriers to the implementation of recommended behaviours in school and at home primarily related to childcare needs and physical space.


About the research team

Prof Lucy Yardley (University of Bristol)

Lucy Yardley is leading the adaptation of the Germ Defence website. She brings expertise in:

  • patient involvement
  • digital healthcare interventions
  • behavioural psychology
  • reduction of infection transmission

Lucy is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Dr Rosie Essery (University of Bristol)

Rosie is co-leading the adaptation of the Germ Defence website. She brings expertise in the Person-Based Approach to intervention development and optimisation, health psychology and behavioural science.

Dr Sarah Denford (University of Bristol)

Sarah is a behavioral scientist and uses qualitative methods to develop and optimize interventions. Sarah is co-leading the adaptation of the Germ Defence website.

Dr Becky Ali (University of Bristol)

Becky is a social work researcher. She has experience in conducting qualitative research and is passionate about promoting the voices of service users/consumers regarding the efficacy of interventions.

Georgia Treneman-Evans (University of Bristol)

Georgia is an experienced Research Associate in health psychology who will be assisting the adaption of the Germ Defence website. She brings expertise is appearance psychology, intervention development and evaluation, and qualitative methods.

Dr James Denison-Day (University of Bristol/University of Southampton)

James is a Research Fellow within the Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology (CCCAHP) at the University of Southampton. He is primarily involved in the design and development of digital health interventions for a range of clinical and health areas, and will be responsible for the technical development of the website.