Public Health England has announced that 10,000 health workers will take part in a study to determine whether specific COVID-19 antibodies provide immunity.
Professor Susan Hopkins from Public Health England expressed gratitude to “the ten thousand NHS doctors, nurses, cleaners and porters who have signed up so far to help improve our knowledge about this new infection.”
"Every day we learn more and more about the impacts of becoming infected with COVID-19, but we don't know if you can get it again, if you can pass it on, or if you develop immunity. We urgently need to find out the answers to these questions as rapidly as possible", Hopkins said.
The participants of the study will be observed for at least a year. Scientists will examine their regular blood and swab tests, as well as try to understand how people’s ethnicity, age or gender affect the chances of infection with Covid-19 and the extent of any immunity.
SIREN: “SARSCoV2 Immunity & REinfection EvaluatioN study to explore if #COVID19 antibodies provide immunity”— Dr Elisabetta (@ViralRNA) August 19, 2020
“Scientists do not yet know if people who have been infected in the past are protected from becoming sick again, or how long any protection lasts” https://t.co/lN7S7P3nHA
Lord Bethell, Health Minister, called the PHE’s ‘SIREN’ (SARS-CoV-2 Immunity & REinfection EvaluatioN) study “important.”
"Understanding our body’s response to COVID-19 is a critical step in beating this horrible virus. That's why this clinical study, one of the largest in the world, is so important. It will help us understand the mystery of our antibody response to COVID-19", he said.
According to official data, more than 320,000 have tested positive for coronavirus, with the around 150,000 tests processed on a daily basis.
Testing at Scale
Commenting on the state of Covid-19 testing in the UK, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said that it needs to be rolled out urgently and will help to avoid a "catastrophic" second lockdown.
According to Mr. Blair, the majority of people who get infected are asymptomatic and therefore if you are only testing people with symptoms, you are not capturing a large number of people, who despite being asymptomatic can nonetheless spread the disease.”
"You can say to people to go back into work, but if they don't feel safe they're going to feel reluctant."— SkyNews (@SkyNews) August 19, 2020
Former prime minister, Tony Blair, says the only way to reopen schools and workplaces, is by testing for #COVID19 "at scale".
Today's top stories: https://t.co/ShU5QezCXw pic.twitter.com/X34XjTBm2d
Former UK PM also added that the only way to go back to normal life is to do "testing at scale".
The total number of deaths for the UK since the start of the pandemic is 41,38, as reported on 18 August 2020.