A new surveillance study to be carried out in the UK will offer 100 care homes repeat COVID-19 testing.
The study aims to offer a detailed picture of the COVID-19 infection rate in care homes across England, with approximately 10,000 people across 100 facilities receiving repeat testing to help understand more about how the novel coronavirus spreads in these settings and enable quick responses to control the infection if outbreaks occur.
Understanding spread and controlling outbreaks
The study intends to provide insights into how many care home staff and residents have already been infected with COVID-19, as well as investigating the proportion of infected patients who have an antibody response to the virus.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “We know care homes are on the frontline of our fight against coronavirus, with the virus affecting older people more acutely than the general population. Not only will this study provide important reassurance to thousands of residents and staff, it will also build our understanding of the rate of infection in care homes and add to our knowledge about the risk factors that mean the virus can affect individuals differently.
“The results of this study will help inform our future plans for managing the pandemic, to protect the public and those who receive care as we work to carefully return to normality.”
Blood antibody testing began on June 11, the results of which will help to inform government strategy regarding the ongoing response to the virus, including lockdown and social distancing measures.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England: “Care homes are the front line and this opportunity is welcome. This study is absolutely critical if we are to win the battle against COVID-19. There is still so much to learn about this virus; why some care homes have tested positive whilst displaying no symptoms or deaths and others have felt the full force of the brutality of this silent killer. The government’s study will help us understand the way in which this virus operates thus enabling us to be better prepared today, tomorrow and in the future.”