The 2021 health issue goes live with more hope for what lies ahead after a turbulent 12 months, although certainly with a good dose of trepidation.

This month, we explore how biomedical materials have been ‘on the frontline’ during the battle against COVID-19, acknowledging the legacy of academic, commercial and clinical success that characterises the UK biomedical materials community, while focusing on the priorities ahead. A key research priority is undoubtedly looking beyond the horizon to how we better prepare for and tackle future pandemics and even other infectious diseases, be it through prevention in the form of enhanced antiviral materials, improved testing or treatment via long-acting medicines. We hope you enjoy this issue and its arrival continues to provide some normality in these times.