Final MFT participant recruited ‘SIREN’ COVID-19 study

The final Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) participant has been recruited to the SIREN research study, which is investigating whether COVID-19 antibodies protect against the virus.

A first report from the Public Health England (PHE) Sarscov2 Immunity and REinfection EvaluatioN or ‘SIREN’ – published in January 2021 – has already found that antibodies from past COVID-19 infection provide 83 per cent protection against reinfection for at least five months. The study will consider vaccine responses later this year.

Healthcare workers from across England are taking part in SIREN, with our Trust targeted to recruit 250 MFT staff members – which we have exceeded with 268 participants.

Our final recruit, Verity Yarwood, a Specialist Physiotherapist based at Manchester Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital – part of MFT – gave her consent to take part in SIREN on 31 March 2021.

Clinical Research Practitioner (CRP), Lileth Campbell, taking a blood sample from Verity as part of her first study appointment

Verity said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact worldwide and has presented a real challenge to the NHS and our entire way of life.

“Knowledge is power, and the better we understand COVID-19, the better we can prevent, treat and manage it. That’s why research studies such as SIREN are essential.

It’s a pleasure to be a part of the SIREN study and do my part in the fight against COVID-19.

Our first recruit was Vicki Conroy, Research Nurse Manager of the Haematology/Oncology Research Team at Manchester Royal Infirmary, who has been taking part in SIREN for a number of months.

CRP, Jeni Tresize, taking a blood sample from participant, Vicki Conroy, as part of a SIREN study visit.

Vicki said: “At the beginning of the pandemic, nobody really knew much about COVID-19 or how to treat it – and there is still more we need to know about the virus – so research is the only way forward.

I’m proud to be taking part in this study and to be helping to gather more information about COVID-19.

Participation in this observational study, which is being delivered by a multidisciplinary team from across Research an Innovation (R&I) at MFT, involves regular blood and COVID-19 (PCR) testing, for a period of at least 12 months.

Nationally, PHE has been regularly testing tens of thousands of healthcare workers from across the UK since June 2020 for new COVID-19 infections, as well as the presence of antibodies, which suggest people have been infected before.

Dr Shazaad Ahmad, a Consultant Virologist, is the Principal Investigator of the SIREN study at MFT.

Dr Ahmad said: “I’d like to thank Verity, Vicki and every MFT staff member who is participating in SIREN, as without colleagues volunteering to take part, we would not be able to provide data to this nationally prioritised COVID-19 study.

As one of the leading NHS trusts for research and innovation, known for our strong track record of recruiting to studies, I’m proud that MFT colleagues have once again come together to effectively deliver a study and reach our required recruitment target within the required timeframe.