Ulster Hospital leads the way in covid research

South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust staff remain dedicated to the fight against COVID-19 by continuing to take part in the largest Covid Research Project in the world - SIREN.

182 staff have committed to participating for a further year which means the South Eastern Trust has the highest number of staff taking part in this vital study in Northern Ireland.

The aim of the project is to study COVID-19 immunity levels and the impact of detectable anti SARS-COV2 antibodies in healthcare workers and to understand whether prior infection with SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) protects against future infection with the same virus.

SIREN has provided valuable evidence about immunity following SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 vaccination. It has also supplied surveillance data on infection and emerging variants.

Principal Investigator SIREN and Consultant Microbiologist at the South Eastern Trust, Dr Yuri Protaschik, said: “The SARS-CoV2 immunity and reinfection evaluation study (SIREN) is a unique, large scale research involving healthcare workers. It is a national core study that provides vital insight into immunity and vaccine effectiveness. The Siren study was established at the start of the pandemic and now we proudly celebrate our two-year anniversary,

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“I would like to thank all the participants for their dedication and commitment to this project and for their invaluable contribution to World science. As issues around COVID-19 are evolving and key questions still need to be answered, the study has been extended for another year. With fortnightly PCR testing and monthly blood samples required, it is not an easy task, but our staff have stepped up to the mark to participate in this important piece of research.”

The South Eastern Trust’s Deputy Chief Executive, Nicki Patterson, who has participated in the SIREN study for the past two years, added: “I am very committed to this vital research which we all hope will help in the battle against Covid-19.”