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COVID-19 Home Antibody Testing Study

What is the COVID-19 home antibody testing study?

The COVID-19 home antibody testing study is an antibody research study. Antibodies are made by the immune system to fight infection. In this study, we will use the results of antibody tests that you do yourself at home to help us understand how many people in ELSA may have already been infected with the virus which causes COVID-19. You can still take part even if you have had a COVID-19 vaccination.

This is part of a national initiative where other studies in the UK are also asking their participants to complete the same antibody test. Analysing the information from ELSA alongside these other studies will allow a greater understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on people’s health and other aspects of life.

Who is carrying out the research?

The study is being undertaken by the ELSA research team which comprises five collaborating institutions: NatCen Social Research, University College London, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the University of Manchester and the University of East Anglia. It is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which is the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK.

Why have I been selected to take part?

You have been invited to participate in this study because you have taken part in the ELSA 50+ Health and Life study on the impact of COVID-19.

You should not take part if you are at increased risk of bleeding.

What will taking part involve?

We will ask you to provide a finger-prick of blood (approximately 10 drops, which is about 0.5ml or one tenth of a teaspoon) for the testing of the COVID-19 antibodies. You can see what is in the antibody testing kit and what the test involves by watching the video here.

Do I have to take part?

No, taking part is entirely voluntary. You have the right to withdraw at any stage. If you would like to leave ELSA, please get in touch so we can update your records. You can also decide that you want to be part of the ELSA study but opt-out from this COVID-19 home antibody testing study. It will not affect any NHS treatment you receive if you do not take part.

How will my results be used?

The antibody test results will be used for statistical and research purposes only and will be linked with the data you have provided in the COVID-19 questionnaires. The findings from this study may help guide public health policy and the Government’s plan for its antibody testing strategy.

All survey findings are anonymised, which means that it will not be possible to identify any participants from the published results. Anonymised data may be shared with other researchers and organisations, such as universities; NHS organisations; the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC); Public Health England (PHE) and UK Data Service.

How do you safeguard my privacy?

We will treat your information in the strictest confidence under current data protection legislation. You can read more about ELSA privacy policy here.

For more information about your data and your rights, you can contact the NatCen Data Protection Officer at dpo@natcen.ac.uk.

How can I contact you?

To get in touch you can email us at elsa@natcen.ac.uk or call our freephone 0800 652 4574.

Please note

Whatever your test result, you must continue to follow current Government advice on self-isolation and social distancing, and you should be vaccinated when you are able.

It is very important, despite what the results of this test show, that you do not change your behaviour. There is no strong evidence yet that people who have had the virus cannot get the virus again.

It is important that you still follow the current Government advice if you get COVID-19 symptoms or if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.