Britain to test prevalence of coronavirus in general population

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 23, 2020, 12:35 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The research is being conducted jointly with the Office for National Statistics and the University of Oxford, and the results would be available in early May.

The UK government is set to test a sample of 20,000 English households for the novel coronavirus in the coming weeks to try to establish how far the disease has spread across the country.

The research is being conducted jointly with the Office for National Statistics and the University of Oxford, and the results would be available in early May.

Health minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday the research would help the government understand the trajectory of the disease better. He had earlier faced criticism over limited testing facilities for some health and social care workers.

More than 18,000 British people have died in hospital of the disease so far, and the country is now in its fifth week of a lockdown.

THE PROCESS

The pilot will be expanded to 300,000 households throughout the United Kingdom over the next 12 months.

Participants will provide weekly samples from self-administered nose and throat swabs for the first five weeks, which will show if they currently have the virus, and then monthly samples for the following year.

Adults from around 1,000 households will also provide blood samples to see if they have developed antibodies following an earlier infection with the coronavirus.

Tests will be administered by IQVIA , a US health data company that has worked before with Britain's state-run health service, and analysed in British government laboratories.

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