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COVID-19: the way forward for UKHSA surveillance

COVID-19: the way forward for UKHSA surveillance


For the reason that onset of the pandemic scientists and researchers, aided and supported by the UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) and DHSC, have mobilised to create surveillance methods which have infinitely improved our understanding of COVID-19.

These methods assist us observe prevalence of the virus throughout the UK, detect new variants and in flip analyse each their transmissibility and severity. Taken collectively, these research enable us to know the general impression that completely different waves and variants have on communities, and the way it impacts completely different social, ethnic and age teams. With out them, the federal government’s potential to make well timed public well being interventions can be severely hampered.

We have now now entered a brand new stage of managing COVID-19. Surveillance has allowed us to know the virus, however its vaccines which have impacted COVID-19’s potential to make folks critically unwell. Over 50 million folks have now had not less than one jab, and almost 40 million have had three. Spring boosters are actually being given to probably the most weak.

This, nonetheless, doesn’t imply the pandemic is over. COVID-19 should nonetheless be handled as a risk to public well being, which is why UKHSA will proceed to watch the virus by a number of completely different research.

COVID-19 An infection Survey (CIS)

The most important of those is the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics COVID-19 An infection Survey (CIS), a world-leading venture that gives weekly information on prevalence ranges throughout the UK, in addition to additional very important info on the socio-demographic traits of the folks and households who’ve contracted the virus.

This 12 months, the dimensions of the an infection survey is being diminished a bit, with a mean of 9000 assessments accomplished daily. Fashions will proceed to regulate based on the traits of the pattern, to make sure estimates proceed to symbolize the inhabitants.

Crucially, although, CIS won’t cut back its reporting. This implies we are going to proceed to see the Weekly An infection Survey bulletin, the weekly mortality stats and the fortnightly traits of individuals testing optimistic for COVID-19 and Antibody and Vaccination reviews.

The survey is evolving to make it simpler for these concerned to take part. Members will be capable to publish their samples and fill in a digital questionnaire, fairly than having face-to-face appointments at dwelling, whereas a telephone service will likely be accessible to help individuals.

Alongside the an infection survey, it will be important that we proceed to watch the unfold of the virus in high-risk settings.

That is why each the SIREN and Vivaldi research will proceed to function within the subsequent 12 months.


SIREN, a UKHSA-led research, began out assessing the impression that detectable antibodies can have on the incidence of COVID-19, particularly in healthcare staff, and within the final 12 months has widened its remit to analyse the impacts of vaccination on immunity inside this neighborhood.

The research, the most important of its sort worldwide, has since June 2020 seen a cohort of over 44,000 Nationwide Well being Service healthcare staff take part throughout 135 hospitals UK-wide. These individuals endure common PCR testing and antibody testing, and the ensuing information offers us unparalleled perception into antibodies and subsequently COVID-19 reinfection extra usually.

The research has had evaluation revealed in landmark publications together with The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medication. It’s persevering with to work with healthcare staff and NHS trusts within the subsequent 12 months and can retain capability to watch immunity ranges towards Omicron and variants past that.

The SIREN research has helped NHS trusts throughout the nation to provide analysis they wouldn’t normally have the capability to provide and can proceed to work with an engaged cohort to supply extra solutions to our questions on immunological developments.


Working in parallel to SIREN, the VIVALDI research has been accumulating related information on care dwelling workers and residents in 330 houses in England since June 2020. This has consisted of standard PCR testing by the Nationwide Testing Programme and repeat assortment of blood samples. This has enabled analyses into (re)an infection ranges, variants of concern (VOCs) period of the immune response from each vaccination and pure an infection, and vaccine effectiveness.

Linkage to different datasets, akin to hospital admissions and mortality information, has supplied additional perception into COVID-19 associated hospitalisations and deaths, and the protecting impact of vaccination towards these outcomes.

This 12 months, VIVALDI will preserve scaled-down COVID-19 work in care houses with a view to reply ongoing analysis questions, akin to across the requirement for additional booster vaccinations.

Alongside different instruments at UKHSA’s disposal, akin to continued genomic sequencing capability, the analysis and evaluation carried out in these research will proceed to facilitate understanding because the virus develops and be sure that public well being recommendation retains in keeping with the science.




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