Hospital staff in Lincolnshire will be among the first to take part in a ground-breaking national research project looking at immunity and other unanswered questions around COVID-19.
Public Health England has launched the SIREN trial which will track NHS staff from across the country, with blood and throat swabs taken regularly over 18-months.
This will help researchers to better understand the true prevalence of the virus and will also improve scientific knowledge about the body’s response to COVID-19. It hopes to do this by identifying anyone who has the virus, whether they develop antibodies, how long any antibodies may last for and if they contract COVID-19 again.
There is currently no firm evidence to suggest that having the antibodies means the carrier is immune to COVID-19 or that they can no longer transmit the virus to others. SIREN will try to answer some of these questions.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) patients have already been enrolling onto a range of COVID-19 research studies, now the Research and Innovation Department are offering 250 Trust staff the chance to take part in this ground-breaking national COVID-19 research.
Associate Chief Nurse, Alun Roebuck, is the Trust’s Principal Investigator for the trial. He said: “This is an opportunity for frontline colleagues to be part of research that could answer the billion dollar questions about COVID-19 that we simply do not know at the moment. It will help us to understand what happens next in the life of the virus and our own immunity to it.”
Alun added: “Our involvement in SIREN really is a whole Trust effort. Our Research and Innovation Department are recruiting and assessing colleagues for the trial; the samples will be taken by members of our Occupational Health Department; tested by partners at Pathlinks and it will be staff taking part from across the Trust.
“This really is ground-breaking research that has the potential to change how we respond to COVID-19 globally. I believe this is the biggest and most important research project for our generation.”
The news comes as 15 new COVID-19 cases were reported locally yesterday (7 July).