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Project lead: Professor Simon de Lusignan

Research group: RCGP Surveillance Centre

Funding: NIHR

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by a new human virus, SARS-CoV-2, has quickly spread around the world. Given the speed of spread, we still know very little about the virus and the body’s immune response to it. We are hoping that our study will provide answers to these key questions: What proportion of household contacts get infected? What proportion of cases are symptom-free? How many are infectious? Which initial immune responses post-exposure protect against (a) infection and (b) symptomatic COVID-19 disease? How long does immunity last?

The study will collect throat swabs (for virus) and blood samples (for immune responses) from two cohorts of adults and children within a few days of exposure to the virus. The first cohort will comprise individuals who present to their general practitioner (GP) with symptoms of COVID-19 and go on to be tested as positive and their household contacts. The second, healthcare workers who have been exposed to the virus. If these individuals consent, they will have samples taken at up to five time-points over the course of 6 months.