Healthcare Worker COVID follow up

Study code
NBR80

Lead researcher
Dan Cooper

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Speciality area
Infection

Summary

This study aims to build on an initial survey assessing the prevalence of antibodies to COVID-19 amongst healthcare workers.

We aim to quantify the level of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) to assess how levels of these antibodies fall over time. We also aim to define the level of activity that these antibodies have in being able to neutralise the virus. This will allow us to establish whether:

(a) The presence of these antibodies offers any protection against infection; and

(b) whether these antibodies are sustained over time (i.e. inferring immunity).  

We will do this by collecting blood samples from those healthcare workers identified as having antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 on an initial screening study, and test for specific antibodies to different parts of the virus. We will test whether these antibodies neutralise the virus in a laboratory setting and measure the amount of antibody in a person’s blood.

This will allow us to define a certain level of antibody that offers protection from infection, and potentially offer long-term protective immunity depending on how the levels of these antibodies are sustained over time.  

The outcomes of this study will guide policy on how NHS staff work in the setting of a coronavirus pandemic, and hopes to reduce the impact of any “second wave” of infection on NHS workforces. The results may also guide planning in wider populations by providing data on likely levels of background immunity in other settings.  

As part of this study, we will also investigate whether certain immune cells (T-cells) behave differently in those who are positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies compared to those who are negative, and how the function of those cells is affected by any other factors known to increase the risk of severe disease (including age, ethnicity and sex).