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The COVID-OUT study [COVID-19]

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    COVID-19 Outbreak investigation to Understand Transmission (COVID-OUT)



  • Contact name

    Andrew Curran

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Health and Safety Executive

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 3 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    Preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is the biggest public health challenge we have faced recently. Evidence is needed to support effective mitigation. Many COVID-19 outbreaks occur in workplaces, schools, care homes, and other settings. Investigations into outbreaks are already undertaken by public health bodies and regulators to control them and manage public health concerns; but they only collect limited information, which is not consistent thereby preventing meaningful analysis across investigations at present.

    The COVID-OUT study will take advantage of the unique, time-limited, opportunities given by these outbreak investigations in workplace settings to collect a consistent set of data in a systematic way so that we can understand why outbreaks occur and how we might be able to stop them happening in the future.

    We will recruit workers from large workplaces where there are COVID-19 outbreaks. We will utilise data collected as part of the outbreak investigations and collect supplemental data through viral and serology testing of workers, environmental sampling of virus, and assessing building plans, ventilation systems, and COVID-secure measures. We will compare workers who have COVID-19 during the outbreak with workers who don’t, to understand the transmission risk factors. We will construct transmission chains to understand how infection spreads and to investigate important transmission routes. We will conduct this study in a consistent way in a range of workplace settings, including food processing plants, warehouses and large offices. We will combine data from outbreaks for pooled analyses to increase power and enable study of common risk factors.

    The COVID-OUT study is part of the National Core Study on Transmission and Environment. It is funded by the UK Government, coordinated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE), the University of Manchester (UoM) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

  • REC name

    North East - Tyne & Wear South Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    7 Dec 2020

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion