A study testing care home staff and residents for immune response to COVID-19 is being expanded by the government.
The Vivaldi study, which is led by University College London (UCL), is being expanded from 100 to 340 care homes to improve understanding of how COVID-19 is impacting care homes in England.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “Expanding this brilliant study, with the support of UCL, is another step towards improving our understanding of the virus.
“Testing people’s antibody reaction to COVID-19 is crucial in helping us to control the spread of the virus, particularly amongst people who are vulnerable.
“The more we know about this virus and are able to control it, the safer it will be for people in care homes.”
Researchers will analyse how antibody and cellular immunity to the virus differs among different groups and help shape the planning and national public health response to COVID-19 as well as wider social-care policy.
The expansion of the study to cover 14,000 care home residents and staff will be phased in this month.
Dr Laura Shallcross of UCL Institute of Health Informatics said: “Expanding the Vivaldi study will tell us how many people living and working in care homes have been infected with COVID-19, and whether being infected once protects against future infections. This study will help us protect the most vulnerable members of society from this devastating infection.”