Professor Lesley Price, who is co-ordinating the Scottish arm off the UK-wide SIREN study – the world’s largest, analysing COVID-19 immunity among healthcare workers – revealed recruitment is going well.
The co-lead of GCU’s Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention (SHIP) Research Group, is on a mission to recruit as many as possible volunteers through local health boards before March 31, 2021.
Professor Price and her team are working in partnership with Public Health Scotland, and closely with NHS Research Scotland, the Chief Scientist Office and health boards to get healthcare workers signed up for the study.
SIREN is testing health workers across the UK to provide information on immunity from COVID-19 infection.
Professor Price said: “We are in the last few weeks of recruitment and health boards are doing an amazing job. They are all pushing recruitment and last week we recruited the highest number of participants so far”.
“Of the 132 sites currently recruiting in the UK, eight are Scottish with one of these having recruited the highest number of participants in the UK and another is in the top ten”.
“When recruitment finishes on March 31 we will continue to monitor participants for a year to see if previous COVID-19 infection or vaccination protects healthcare workers from further COVID-19 infection”.
“This is the largest COVID-19 cohort study of healthcare workers in the world and will answer very important questions about the development of immunity to COVID-19 infection.”
The SIREN study is the largest cohort study of healthcare workers being conducted in real life. It has produced interim analysis on immunity and vaccine effectiveness that is informing the Government’s response to the pandemic.
Public Health England published analysis which showed that vaccination is reducing the risk of healthcare workers catching the infection by 70 per cent after the first dose, rising to 85 per cent after the second dose.
Professor Price said: “This is great news for healthcare workers and society as a whole. Reducing the number of healthcare staff with COVID-19 should reduce transmission of the infection, staff absence and the impact on health service delivery.”
The SHIP team is part of the University’s Research Centre for Health (ReaCH), which makes a direct and significant contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 3 – good health and wellbeing – issued by United Nations in 2015 as a blueprint for peace and prosperity across the planet.