COVID-19: The future of UKHSA surveillance

Since the epidemic began, scientists and researchers, assisted and supported by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the DHSC, have come together to create surveillance systems that have greatly improved our understanding of COVID-19.

These systems help us track the prevalence of viruses across the United Kingdom, identify new variants, and analyze both their susceptibility and severity. Taken together, these studies allow us to understand the overall impact of different waves and forms on our communities and how it affects different social, ethnic and age groups. Without them, the government’s ability to intervene in public health in a timely manner would be severely hampered.

We have now entered a new phase of COVID-19 management. Surveillance has allowed us to understand the virus, but its vaccines have affected the ability of COVID-19 to make people seriously ill. More than 50 million people have now had at least one job, and about 40 million have had three. Spring boosters are now being given to the weakest.

However, this does not mean that the epidemic is over. COVID-19 should still be considered a threat to public health, which is why the UKHSA will continue to monitor the virus through various studies.

COVID-19 Infection Survey (CIS)

The largest of these is the Office for National Statistics Covid-19 Infection Survey (CIS), a world-leading project that provides weekly information on outbreak levels across the United Kingdom, as well as more important information on its socio-economic demographic characteristics. . People and families who have been infected with the virus.

This year, the scale of the infection survey is being slightly reduced, with an average of 9000 tests completed per day. The models will continue to adjust according to the characteristics of the sample to ensure that the estimates continue to represent the population.

However, CIS will not reduce its reporting. This means we will continue to see weekly infection survey bulletins, weekly mortality statistics and fortnightly characteristics of people tested positive for COVID-19 and antibody and vaccination reports.

The survey is being developed to make it easier for those involved to participate. Participants will be able to post their samples and fill out a digital questionnaire instead of a face-to-face appointment at home, while a phone service will be available to support participants.

In addition to infection studies, it is important that we continue to monitor the spread of the virus in high-risk settings.

This is why both SIREN and Vivaldi studies will continue to work next year.


A study led by SIREN, UKHSA, has begun assessing the effects of detectable antibodies on COVID-19 cases, particularly on healthcare workers, and has expanded its remittances over the past year to analyze the effects of vaccination on immunity. Community.

The study, the largest of its kind worldwide, involved a team of more than 44,000 National Health Service healthcare workers at 135 UK-wide hospitals since June 2020. These participants underwent regular PCR tests and antibody tests and the resulting data gave us unparalleled insights into our antibodies and therefore COVID-19 re-infection in general.

The study contains analyzes published in Landmark publications, including The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. It will continue to work with healthcare workers and NHS trusts over the next year and will maintain the ability to monitor immunity levels against forms of Omicron and beyond.

The SIREN survey has helped NHS trusts across the country create research that is not typically productive and will continue to work with a dedicated team to further answer our questions about immunological trends.


Running in parallel with SIREN, the VIVALDI study has been collecting similar data on care home staff and residents in 330 homes in England since June 2020. This includes regular PCR testing and recurrence of blood samples through the national testing program. This has enabled (again) to analyze the level of infection, the duration of the response to resistance from both vaccination and natural infections, and the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Linking to other datasets, such as hospitalization and death information, provided further insights into the protective effects of COVID-19 related hospitalization and death and vaccination against these outcomes.

This year, VIVALDI will continue to work on a scale-down COVID-19 at the care home to answer ongoing research questions, such as the need for more booster vaccinations.

In addition to other UKHSA disposal tools, such as continuous genomic sequencing capabilities, the research and analyzes conducted in this study will continue to facilitate understanding as the virus develops and ensure that public health advice moves step by step with science.

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