UKHSA’s flagship SIREN research enters new section to proceed surveillance of respiratory pathogens

The following section of the research shall be referred to as SIREN 2.0 and commenced in September 2023.

Established on the peak of the pandemic in June 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 immunity and reinfection (SIREN) research has frequently examined healthcare staff throughout the UK for COVID-19, offering essential data referring to the virus. The proof it has collected on immunity, vaccination and rising variants performed a important function in informing the nationwide response.

The SIREN research launched testing for influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for healthcare staff, to assist collect an understanding of the affect of those viruses on winter pressures in healthcare in winter 2022 and this can proceed this yr.

The emergence of the BA.2.86 variant has resulted within the autumn vaccine marketing campaign being introduced ahead. SIREN 2.0 testing of healthcare staff, a cohort eligible for the vaccine, will assist present solutions on vaccine efficacy towards this new variant, different circulating variants and infection-acquired immunity.

SIREN 2.0 will recruit contributors from our unique cohort of 45,000 healthcare staff, which stays the most important research of its type globally, and now we have expanded our collaborations with the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the Worldwide Influenza Centre (WIC) on the Francis Crick Institute to make sure we proceed to deal with necessary scientific questions.

Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser on the UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA), mentioned:

Thanks to all of our contributors who make this important research doable. It’s due to you that now we have been capable of acquire important knowledge and insights on COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, furthering our understanding on immune response and the safety provided by vaccines.

This new section of the research – SIREN 2.0 – will enable us to play a core function within the continued surveillance of COVID-19, together with the detection of rising new variants, whereas we may even utilise multiplex testing to evaluate the affect of influenza and RSV on healthcare staff.

I’m delighted that we are going to be working with new companions from WIC and the Respiratory Virus and Microbiome Initiative (RVI) on the Wellcome Sanger Institute as we proceed to reply an important questions on the affect of respiratory ailments.»

The Wellcome Sanger Institute will sequence samples supplied by UKHSA and use metagenomics to research different pathogens that trigger respiratory an infection equivalent to parainfluenza. In the meantime, we plan to share influenza virus strains recognized through the research with WIC, and these could also be used to design influenza vaccines for future seasons.

Dr Ewan Harrison, Head of RVI on the Wellcome Sanger Institute, mentioned:

We’re excited to be working with the SIREN research staff to maximise the yield of science that may be performed utilizing the samples taken from the SIREN contributors, which offer a novel alternative to review respiratory virus infections in healthcare staff.

The RVI builds on the expertise used for the genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 through the pandemic. We hope that by increasing the vary of respiratory viruses which can be routinely sequenced, we are able to contribute to scientific understanding that may assist forestall and deal with infections attributable to respiratory viruses.»

Blood samples from SIREN contributors are already being examined in partnership with UKHSA‘s newly established Vaccine Improvement and Analysis Centre (VDEC) to grasp the immune response supplied by vaccination towards new variants, together with BA.2.86, offering important proof to tell the nationwide danger evaluation.

The staff will proceed to evaluate the sturdiness of safety of vaccination in our healthcare employee cohort, and can present common updates to consultants, together with the JCVI, and policymakers on the newest findings.

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