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10,000 NHS Scotland staff to take part in COVID-19 study

10,000 NHS Scotland staff to take part in COVID-19 study

8th September 2020

SIREN (Sarscov2 Immunity & REinfection EvaluatioN) is a UK-wide study testing 100,000 health workers, which will provide information on immunity from and prevalence of COVID-19 infection.

The primary objective of the study is to determine whether the presence of COVID-19 antibodies is associated with a reduction in the subsequent risk of re-infection over the next year. The data will also be used to estimate the prevalence of COVID19 infection in healthcare workers by region.

The Scottish arm of SIREN is being co-ordinated by Professor Lesley Price and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), in partnership with Public Health Scotland, NHS Research Scotland and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of the Scottish Government.

It aims to recruit 10,000 staff throughout Scotland, equating to roughly 1 in every 7.5 patient facing NHS staff.

Professor Lesley Price said: “We are delighted to be involved in this very important UK-wide study that Scotland is taking part in. It is important, not just for healthcare workers, but to find out these answers for the general population.

“The aim of the study is to see if anybody who has had COVID-19 gets it again and find out if that provides immunity.  UK-wide there will be 100,000 healthcare workers recruited for this study.

“GCU is co-ordinating the Scottish arm of the study and we will be testing 10,000 Scottish healthcare workers every two weeks with blood and throat swabs because we want to find out how COVID-19 is affecting them as they are at higher risk. The study is expected to last two years.”

Dr Gregor Smith, Interim Chief Medical Officer, said: “This study is of huge importance as it provides us with an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of immunity to COVID19. It will also give us invaluable data on the level of infection amongst our staff and inform us how we can best protect them and our patients”

Recruitment of Health Boards into the study will occur on an incremental basis and be completed by the end of September.

Participants will be patient-facing NHS healthcare workers working in secondary care facilities within the 14 Scottish Territorial Health Boards as well as staff from the NHS Golden Jubilee (National Waiting Times Centre). This will include doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and support staff who have face-to-face contact with patients.

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