More than 500 members of Yeovil Hospital staff signed up to Public Health England’s SIREN Study to help understand whether prior infection with SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) protects against future infection with the same virus.

The SIREN Study has been live since June 2020 and has tested tens of thousands of NHS staff across the country. At Yeovil Hospital, the Clinical Research Team has been testing staff from both clinical and non-clinical backgrounds every two weeks for signs of new COVID-19 infections and antibodies and feeding this data into the national study.

The Trust had a target of recruiting 250 staff members by the end of September 2020 but found an outstanding 569 employees stepped forward to volunteer.

Consultant Cardiologist at Yeovil Hospital Dr Andrew Broadley was keen to be part of the study. Dr Broadley said: “Taking part in the SIREN trial is very worthwhile. This is the only urgent public health trial that can answer the important questions about how long COVID-19 immunity lasts and what the risks of reinfection are. Health workers are in a unique position to be able to help with this question, because our risks of exposure to COVID-19 are, by the nature of the work we do, higher than the general population.

 “My experience of the SIREN study is entirely positive. I like knowing that I’m playing a part in the research effort to overcome COVID-19, even if it is just a tiny part.”

Senior Clinical Research Nurse Sarah Board is leading the study at Yeovil Hospital. Sarah explained: “Clinical research trials are so important in striving to find new treatments for diseases and conditions that affect millions of people worldwide and COVID-19 has been no exception. Over the last year, we have learned so much about the virus. From the results of the study so far, we now know that past COVID-19 infections does provided some immunity for at least five months; however people may still be able to carry and transmit the virus, therefore it is still extremely important that people follow all government guidelines and stay at home when possible.”

Although the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out across the UK, the Siren Study continues to be important for increasing our understanding as well as alerting staff as to whether they have COVID-19 and are transmittable to patients and the community.

Throughout Yeovil Hospital, we have had staff sign up for the study from a variety of roles including the research team itself. Clinical Research Nurse Nigel Beer said: “I am really glad I signed up to the Siren Trial, to be a part of a possible solution. The data has already made a difference to how we understand the virus and it was important to me that I could have reassurance that I was not going to be transmitting COVID-19 to either my patients or my family.”

Yeovil Hospital staff have joined thousands of others around the country stepping forward and helping the world edge closer to an end to the pandemic. The next stage of the study is beginning to take place and staff here at Yeovil Hospital the fantastic research team and supporting staff will continue to do their part and help put an end to COVID-19.


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