Study Detail

Virus Watch

Virus Watch: Understanding community incidence, symptom profiles, and transmission of COVID-19 in relation to population movement and behaviour.

Status: Open

Type: Observational


Sponsor: University College London

CI: Prof Andrew Hayward

IRAS-Number: 281933

CPMS-ID: 45822

Approval Date: 18 April 2020


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has caused large numbers of deaths and severe societal disruption worldwide. To respond and support the NHS and public health decision makers, we need to know how many people become infected, how many of them become ill, what their symptoms are and how many seek health care. We also want to learn how commonly infected people transmit the virus to their household contacts, what proportion need hospitalisation and what proportion die. We need to understand how the population responds to this virus in terms of hand washing, behaviours during and after coughing, sneezing or nose wiping, and whether people restrict their movements and social contacts. Since many of those infected will have relatively mild symptoms and not seek medical advice the only way to accurately obtain this information is to conduct large scale community studies. We will follow up members of the public and contacts of cases using regular online surveys of symptoms and behaviours, secure tracking of participant movements, and testing for COVID-19 and other respiratory infections to build a detailed picture of how the virus spreads and the population responds. We will share this data with participants, health service and public health planners and the general public to help minimise the impact of the virus.

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