COVID-19 surveillance and immunity studies up to March 2022 – GOV.UK

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Updated 8 June 2022

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Since early 2020, the government has funded a number of large-scale Surveillance and Immunity studies (SIS) through NHS Test and Trace which has since become part of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). This page briefly sets out those studies and their findings where government support completed in the financial year of 2021 and 2022.
Read studies that are continuing as part of the Living with COVID-19 plan throughout 2022 and 2023.
This coronavirus (COVID-19) surveillance programme was led by a team of scientists, clinicians and researchers at Imperial College London, alongside colleagues at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Ipsos MORI and other partners.
REACT protocol
REACT study information
REACT study announcements
April 2020 to March 2022
The REACT-1 study was launched in April 2020 and ended 2 years later. It was a large population study that measured the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the general population and estimated how quickly the virus transmitted between people (R value) across a 2-week period each month while the survey was active.
Up to 125,000 unique participants took part each month and the results provided insights about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, in addition to the prevalence of emerging variants.
REACT-1 monthly research findings
May 2020 to March 2022
The REACT-2 study was launched in May 2020 to estimate how many people had already had SARS-CoV-2 in England.
Over 150,000 participants took an antibody finger prick test at home to provide useful insight about changes in antibody levels in the general population.
The study also helped scientists learn more about the usability and accuracy of different antibody tests, as well as how vaccines affect antibody levels in people.
Press releases:
REACT-2 research findings
March 2020 – ongoing
This is a not-for-profit initiative started by health science company ZOE in collaboration with King’s College London in March 2020. It supports vital COVID-19 research, is one of the world’s largest ongoing studies of COVID-19 symptoms and facilitates hotspot detection.
The ZOE app provides unique insights into asymptomatic and symptomatic information across the UK with up to one million users logging on a weekly basis. It was supported by a grant from UKHSA up to March 2022 and continues its activities with updates regularly provided on its website.
Protocol and methodology
Press release: August 2020
Research findings
COVID-19 symptom study app FAQs
March 2020 to March 2022
CoMix was a unique social contact survey study launched in March 2020 by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with data collected by Ipsos MORI.
The study was funded by several bodies, including the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Medical Research Council (MRC), and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Participants reported the total number and nature of direct contacts they had the day before they took the survey: people they had at least a brief face-to-face conversation with or with whom they had any sort of skin-to-skin contact.
Participants were also asked additional questions, such as about whether they wore a facemask on the day of reported contacts.
The data was analysed to produce a fortnightly report for Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group (SPI-M-O) and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) which tracked the reproduction number, participants’ mean contacts over time and explored differences in regions.
Protocol and research findings
June 2020 to September 2020
At the beginning of June 2020 the study was launched through a partnership between Public Health England (now UKHSA) and the Department for Education (DfE), with funding from DHSC.
The study focused on providing a better understanding of prevalence in pre and primary schools in the last half of the summer term of 2020 after national lockdown measures began to ease. It was designed to provide the government with insights to inform the response to SARS-CoV-2 and the management of education settings in a safe and secure way.
This study focused on blood and swab tests of pre-school, primary and staff from 130 schools across England to better understand rates of transmission of COVID-19.
Following completion of sKIDs, the study evolved into the sKIDsPLUS study (September 2020 to June 2021), which looked at enhanced COVID-19 surveillance in 20 secondary schools and colleges and the development of 2 larger scale surveillance, immunity and health and wellbeing studies in primary and secondary schools, SIS1 and SIS2.
Protocol and methodology
Press release: June 2020
Research findings
Further information on COVID-19 paediatric surveillance
SKIDsPlus Protocol
May 2020 to December 2020
This study was established in May 2020 by UK Biobank, in collaboration with the University of Oxford. It was designed to establish the proportion of Biobank participants who had previously had SARS-CoV-2 infection, the strength of different groups’ antibody responses and how this varied over time.
It used a fixed cohort of 20,000 registered with UK Biobank and their families who self-administered finger prick blood samples once a month for 6 months.
Press release: May 2020
Research findings
Final results
UK Biobank SARS-CoV-2 serology study FAQs
March 2020 – ongoing
NHS Test and Trace funding for this study was provided between March and November 2020. This was a weekly serology testing of blood samples obtained from existing sources that provided baseline data of the population presenting with antibodies.
Blood samples from the NHS Blood and Transplant service, Great Ormond Street Hospital and other paediatric hospitals were analysed. Data collection continues on a small scale.
Protocol and methodology
Press release: August 2020
COVID-19 surveillance and immunity studies
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