Bristol COVID-19 antibody testing study launched

A study that will enable researchers to understand more about the second wave of COVID-19 and its long-term health effects has been launched today [24 March] by Children of the 90s, a health study based at the University of Bristol.

The “COVID-19 antibody testing from the home” study is part of a national study that will bring together data from other longitudinal studies around the UK to track the second wave of COVID-19. The study will also help inform public health policy and provide data to assist the Government in managing the virus.

This is the second antibody testing study by Children of the 90s and will help researchers learn more about the impact of the second wave of the virus on the Bristol area, and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.

Nine thousand participants of Children of the 90s, who have previously completed a COVID-19 questionnaire, will be invited to take a COVID-19 antibody test at home, which will be sent to a laboratory to test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

The home antibody test kits have been provided by the Department of Health and Social Care.

This test is different from the first round of testing carried out last October and participants are being asked to take part even if they have previously had an antibody test or have had a vaccine.

The study will help Children of the 90s researchers understand how many participants may have already been infected with the virus which causes COVID-19 and compare this with the information the study team know from symptoms that have previously been reported. This will give researchers a clearer picture of the rate of infection, and also the number of people who may be asymptomatic.

Professor Nic Timpson, Children of the 90s’ Principal Investigator, said: “It’s thanks to our participants that researchers have been able to make a valuable contribution to science and the fight against COVID-19. However, there is still much to learn about the virus, and we would like to call on our participants again to take part in this antibody study, even if they have taken one before or have been vaccinated.

“By taking part, participants will be contributing to an important national research study that will make a huge difference to our understanding of both the virus and the impact of the pandemic.”

The study, together with existing COVID-19 questionnaires, will provide information on the number of people who have antibodies against COVID-19, and identify COVID-19 cases in established longitudinal population studies.

Future research will analyse long COVID and the immune response to COVID-19 infection and COVID-19 vaccination, which is currently largely unknown. The research will also look at the impact of the virus on minority ethnic groups along with different socioeconomic groups and occupations.

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