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200826 | Covid-19: Royal Cornwall Hospital takes part in nationwide study

Covid-19: Royal Cornwall Hospital takes part in nationwide study

 Royal Cornwall Hospital takes part in nationwide study

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:20am 26th August 2020.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital is taking part in a nationwide study into coronavirus and immunity.

The SIREN trial is being run by Public Health England and hospitals across the country are taking part.

Currently that includes around 400 NHS healthcare staff from Treliske who are being tested for Covid-19 and its antibodies every two weeks.

Participants will have throat swabs taken and blood checks regularly, to see if previous exposure to the virus builds up immunity.

"The study is seeking to answer the question whether previous exposure to Covid-19 conveys an immunity in the future. And if it does, do what extent does it do that.

"In order to prove this what they're asking for across all of the country is a sample of 100,000 healthcare workers, these include clinical staff, porters, cleaning staff, administrators, and they're being examined to see if they have potential immunity to the virus.

"Having previous exposure, if we do get immunity, this has vast implications for the rest of the country and globally actually.

"So the SIREN study is a really important piece of this puzzle."

Helen Chenoweth, research sister at the Royal Cornwall Hospital

blood tests Blood tests will be part of the SIREN study, to give scientists a better idea of how Covid-19 can affect the body

About the SIREN study:

The trial is planned to go on for a year, to check how long antibodies might last, whether people build any immunity and the length of time it takes before it stops being contagious.

Things such as people's age, ethnicity, gender, and staff group will all be considered in the results.

Treliske started recruitment a few weeks ago and so far has recruited around 400 participants, with the aim of reaching 500 to help meet demand from Public Health England.

Bosses say they have had a great response from staff wanting to take part and are 'overwhelmed and humbled' by the interest of different departments working together.

"What we would like to see is if you have been exposed to the virus that your immunity lasts, that would be wonderful.

"But what we have seen in some participants is that it doesn't always last. So they might be immune for a period of time, then the immunity goes away. So that's kind of what we don't want to see.

"So when we have a bigger sample size what we would like to see is that exposure to the virus leads to immunity."

Helen Chenoweth, research sister at the Royal Cornwall Hospital