The study will contact 20,000 households across England help to understand levels of immunity and hopes to reach up to 300,000 people in the next 12 months.
Participants in the study will form a representative sample of the entire UK population by age and geography. The results will help scientists and the government in the ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak, with initial findings expected to be available in early May.
Professor Sarah Walker of University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Medicine said, ‘This is one of the largest and most important studies underway into the COVID-19 virus and will transform our understanding of the infection. The University of Oxford is delighted to be the study sponsor.’
Led by the Department for Health and Social Care and the Office for National Statistics, the study draws on the world-leading scientific expertise of the University of Oxford, and is backed by the testing capabilities of data science company IQVIA UK and the National Biosample Centre in Milton Keynes.
The study will add to the population data already being collected through the national surveillance programme operated by Public Health England, which has been enhanced since the end of February.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, ‘These results will help us better understand the spread of the virus to date, predict the future trajectory and inform future action we take, including crucially the development of ground-breaking new tests and treatments.’
For further information on the study, visit the UK Government release.