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SIREN: A year later – Public health matters

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A year ago today, we started the world’s largest real-world study on COVID-19 antibodies. With the rise in infections around the world, we launched the SIREN study to find answers to some of the most important questions about reinfection and the effects of antibodies.

Last year, SIREN performed 519,465 PCR tests and 249,402 blood tests on 44,549 participants in 135 locations. Participants will be tested with both PCR and antibody tests every 2-4 weeks. All in the interest of answering the questions we and the public need to know.

Here are five things we’ve learned from the study so far:

1 – Can COVID-19 reinfection occur?

This was one of the biggest questions we had to answer as it would have a huge impact on how the pandemic could progress and how we would deal with it. We learned from last year’s study that reinfection is possible and can occur, although it was relatively rare.

When we got the answer to that, that led to the next obvious question

2 – Do Antibodies Offer You Protection?

We wanted to understand what protection people with antibodies might have against the virus. How long would they take, was it possible to recover from COVID-19 but then get it right away?

SIREN’s evidence suggested that antibodies would provide some protection for several months after infection. When SIREN reported its first analysis, the study showed that 83% of people infected with COVID-19 were protected from re-infection for at least 9 months.

3 – How effective are the vaccines?

To answer some of the vaccine questions, we expanded the number of participants in the study to collect additional vaccination data and increase recruitment by the time vaccination of health workers began. This helped us assess the effectiveness of vaccines.

February’s SIREN analysis showed the likelihood of developing both symptomatic and asymptomatic infections after a dose of the vaccine was 72% lower and increased to 86% after the second dose. Incredible numbers that show us that the way out of the pandemic was vaccination. It also showed us that people who were vaccinated had a milder disease and were more likely to have infections with no symptoms.

4 – How long does it take for the vaccines to work?

At the same time, SIREN found that protection from the vaccine starts two weeks after the first dose, but is optimal from 2 weeks after the second dose. This was important information to understand how we can move forward with vaccinating the country.

Analysis has also shown that this protection helps reduce the spread of infections. If a person is not infected, they cannot spread the virus; The more people who cannot spread the virus, the greater the protection for the entire population.

5 – What else can we find out?

It’s been a difficult 15 months for all of us, but scientific studies have helped us understand what we are dealing with, how to deal with the pandemic, and will continue to help us move forward.

The SIREN study has answered some of the top questions about COVID-19 infection, reinfection, and antibodies since it was created. But our work is not over and there is much more to be done.

We evaluate what antibody levels those who have had a reinfection have compared to those who have not.

We will continue to monitor attendees closely to monitor the effects of antibodies and vaccines on COVID-19 over the next 12 months, understand the duration of the vaccine response, and measure the effects of future COVID vaccines on the immune response and protection against infection .

These discoveries would not be possible without the work and dedication of so many people. Especially the NHS researchers and volunteer participants who sacrifice their time in the interests of science.

So I’m very excited that the study will continue this important work in the coming year to unravel the secrets of a virus that was not identified just 18 months ago. These discoveries would not be possible without the efforts of so many people, especially the participants who are sacrificing their time in this important act of public service.

Thank You For Reading!

Reference: publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk

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