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UK-wide trial to measure COVID-19 antibodies in children

Queen’s University Belfast is leading a UK-wide trial called ‘Seroprevalence of SARS-Cov-2 infection in healthy children’ to measure antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in healthy children.

HSC R&D Division is funding this important study which aims to assess the numbers of children who may have had COVID-19, and if those children have antibodies that may be able to fight off the infection.

The findings from this study of over 1,000 children will be important for estimating the proportion of children that have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and have antibodies that may be consistent with immunity. This data can then be considered as part of planning measures, such as opening schools and opening routine paediatric services, such as health visiting and paediatric clinics. 

Dr Tom Waterfield, from Queen’s University Belfast, who is leading the study in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Northern Ireland and Public Health England said: “It is unclear what proportion of UK children have been exposed to COVID-19 and how many, if any, have the necessary antibodies to prevent future re-infection. This important research may help with planning for the reopening of schools and other vital children’s services.” 

The Health Minister, Robin Swann said: “I very much welcome the fact that Queen’s University is leading this hugely important UK-wide trial. Expert research has a central role in the world’s battle against Covid-19. Our understanding of this virus has already been greatly enhanced at pace but there is still much more to learn.”

For more information please see the full press release from QUB>

The study is supported by funding from HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency, The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and was also subsidised by a donation from the Queen’s Foundation. It is being delivered in partnership with The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Public Health England, the Ulster Independent Clinic, NHS Glasgow and Greater Clyde, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. The Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network is supporting the delivery of the study.