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Sero-epidemiological survey of England in 2019/2020 [What's the STORY]

Last updated on 13 May 2020

Research type

Basic science study involving procedures with human participants


Sero-epidemiological survey of England in 2019/2020 [What's the STORY (Serum Testing of Representative Youngsters)]

Contact name

Professor Matthew Snape


University of Oxford 



New study or amendment to existing study


Research summary 

Public Health England has an ongoing sero-prevalence programme to assess how well the population is protected from vaccine preventable diseases. The current way to check this is by testing left-over blood samples from different healthcare laboratories around the country and examine them to see what protection they have from vaccine preventable diseases. There are two problems with this system. Firstly samples may not be representative of the general population particularly in younger age groups and secondly we do not know which vaccines the patients who provided the samples have received. In the Netherlands they use a different system, in which they actively collect new blood samples from a representative cross section of society. This type of approach would address the limitations of using residual serum samples and would be an invaluable resource for understanding the levels of immunity against vaccine preventable disease in the English population. This in turn would allow us to anticipate the re-emergence of new diseases such as measles or diphtheria. We are proposing a pilot study to assess the feasibility of establishing a national sero-epidemiological survey in England in individuals aged 0 – 24 years. We will be focusing initially on Diphtheria and Group C invasive meningococcal disease both of which are vaccine preventable. Each participant will have the study explained to them and if they give consent they will be asked to provide one blood sample and answer a short questionnaire. These samples will then be analysed in a Public Health England laboratory to see if the participant has evidence of immunity against Diphtheria and invasive Group C meningococcal disease. We will produce reports both for publication and for Public Health England.

Amendment - Approved 25/02/2020;

The purpose of this amendment is to include the testing of antibodies against other infectious diseases, specifically novel coronavirus (COVID-19).



Registry entries NCT04061382

REC name

London Surrey

REC reference


Date approved


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