Approximately 10,000 people in 106 Four Seasons care homes will be given repeat testing as part of a new Government study into coronavirus to understand more about its spread in these settings.
The study will take place across the chain’s homes in England over the course of 12-18 months.
Staff and residents in the care homes will have three rounds each of blood tests and swab testing over a period of three to four months. A subset of residents who have an antibody response at three months will have repeat blood tests at 6 and 12 months to see how long the antibody response lasts.
Swab tests (known as a PCR test) test if a person currently has the virus.
The initiative forms part of Pillar 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 testing strategy to conduct UK-wide surveillance testing to learn more about the spread of the virus. It also hopes to give reassurance for those living and working in care homes and allow them to react quickly to outbreaks.
The first blood samples took place on Thursday 11 June and the first results are expected to be available in July.
The research, carried out in collaboration with DHSC, UCL and NHS Data Foundry, will draw on results from whole care home testing and previous studies to hopefully explain why only some care homes have had outbreaks.
Since the launch of whole care home testing, the Government has provided test kits to over 12,000 care homes, and are now able to send out and process over 50,000 test kits a day.
Care home test kits are available via the online portal