Whittington Health in Covid-19 Antibody Study

24 Jul 2020

250 Staff working for Whittington Health NHS Trust are being recruited to take part in a major national study to help scientists to find out more about COVID-19 antibodies and whether having COVID-19 antibodies makes someone immune to the virus.

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250 Staff working for Whittington Health NHS Trust are being recruited to take part in a major national study to help scientists to find out more about COVID-19 antibodies and whether having COVID-19 antibodies makes someone immune to the virus.
 
The study, being run by Public Health England will see Whittington Health colleagues having a nasal swab and blood test as well as filling in an online survey every two weeks for a year. This important research will help drive forward global knowledge about the virus and contribute to helping us to manage and hopefully in time eliminate it.
 
The SIREN study will look at whether having previously had COVID-19 gives you future immunity to catching it again. The 250 staff from Whittington Health will be amongst some 100 000 NHS and Social Care staff from across the country being recruited to take part in the study.
 
The trust has already offered an antibody testing to all its staff with 3,263 people taking up the opportunity, more than 70% of the trustís workforce. Around 28% of staff tested had COVID-19 antibodies, but at present it is not yet know how long these antibodies remain in the body or whether or not their presence makes someone immune to catching it again. This study is attempting to find this out.
 
The Medical Director Dr Clare Dollery and all of the Trustís Associate Medical Directors have already signed up to be part of the study. Dr Clarissa Murdoch, Associate Medical Director responsible for Quality Improvement and Clinical Effectiveness at Whittington Health NHS Trust has already signed up to take part in the trial. She said: ďWe have seen first-hand the terrible impact of COVID-19 but there is so much that we donít know about this terrible virus. I am more than happy to play my part in helping science to find out more and help to defeat it.Ē
 
SIREN study lead, Dr Susan Hopkins, said: ďThe results of this PHE study will be an important piece of the puzzle. We know people who have had COVID-19 produce antibodies in response but what we donít know is whether this means they have immunity against future infection and how long that protection may last. Improving our understanding will be critical to future decisions about how best to control the spread of coronavirus.Ē
 
Anyone working for the Trust can take part provided that they work in a clinical setting where patients are present, although they donít need to have direct patient contact or a detailed knowledge or understanding about COVID-19. The results of the study will be published by Public Health England in due course.

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