IQVIA, one of the UK’s leading providers of clinical research, has joined forces with the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Oxford University and UK Biocentre, to immediately commence a country-wide testing programme of UK households for Covid-19 infection and immunity. IQVIA is providing its highly experienced, UK-based nurses to rapidly undertake the collection of blood samples and swabs from people who have agreed to take part.

Launched on Thursday, 23 April by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), the Covid-19 Infection Survey (CIS) will involve collecting blood samples and swab tests from households to find out how many people have Covid-19, how many people have developed antibodies, and inform the rate of community transmission.

IQVIA nurse teams will lead the blood and swab collection from people who choose to participate following invitation from the ONS, which will begin issuing invitations this week to individual households. IQVIA nursing staff will have routine tests for Covid-19 prior to visiting households and will, of course, follow NHS recommendations about the appropriate level of Protective Personal Equipment (PPE).

IQVIA has set up a dedicated appointment helpline so residents can confidentially book their Covid-19 tests to be undertaken in the privacy of their own home, by IQVIA nursing staff. The blood samples will be sent to Oxford University for rapid antibody testing, whilst swabs for infection testing will be sent to UK Biocentre.

Around 25,000 people will be tested in the first phase of the Covid-19 Infection Survey which will potentially be scaled up to 300,000 people over the next 12 months.

Undertaking this ambitious community study through the nationwide team of experienced IQVIA nurses will support frontline community NHS nurses phlebotomists to continue to provide exceptional care for those who need it.

Speaking about IQVIA’s involvement in the Covid-19 Infection Survey, UK General Manager and Senior Vice President for Northern Europe Tim Sheppard said: “IQVIA is proud to be playing its part in helping to understand Covid-19 – the greatest public health challenge that has faced the world in a generation. By enabling this accelerated population study, we will contribute essential evidence of infection and immunity in the UK population for consideration by Government and to inform their next steps in tackling the pandemic.

“Our nursing team has 30 years’ experience of working with the NHS to support patient care. This population study is vital, time-critical work, and is another part of our global mission to use human data science to fight Covid-19 and change the course of this pandemic.” 

Regarding this collaboration, Pete Benton, Survey Operations Director at the Office for National Statistics, said: “We are grateful to be able to call on the specialist expertise and capability of IQVIA to help us deliver this vital study at a crucial moment in the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Original article published here