Prospective observational study of SARS-CoV-2 infection, transmission and immunity in a cohort of households in Liverpool City Region, UK (COVID-LIV): a study protocol


Setiabudi, Wega Hungerford, Daniel Subramaniam, Krishanthi Vaselli, Natasha Marcella Shaw, Victoria E Wilton, Moon Vivancos, Roberto Aston, Stephen Platt, Gareth Moitt, Tracy Jones, Ashley P Gabbay, Mark Buchan, Iain Carrol, Enitan D Iturriza-Gomara, Miren Solomon, Tom Greenhalf, William Naisbitt, Dean J Adams, Emily R Cunliffe, Nigel A Turtle, Lance French, Neil


INTRODUCTION The emergence and rapid spread of COVID-19 have caused widespread and catastrophic public health and economic impact, requiring governments to restrict societal activity to reduce the spread of the disease. The role of household transmission in the population spread of SARS-CoV-2, and of host immunity in limiting transmission, is poorly understood. This paper describes a protocol for a prospective observational study of a cohort of households in Liverpool City Region, UK, which addresses the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between household members and how immunological response to the infection changes over time. METHODS AND ANALYSIS Households in the Liverpool City Region, in which members have not previously tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 with a nucleic acid amplification test, are followed up for an initial period of 12 weeks. Participants are asked to provide weekly self-throat and nasal swabs and record their activity and presence of symptoms. Incidence of infection and household secondary attack rates of COVID-19 are measured. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 will be investigated against a range of demographic and behavioural variables. Blood and faecal samples are collected at several time points to evaluate immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and prevalence and risk factors for faecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2, respectively. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION The study has received approval from the National Health Service Research Ethics Committee; REC Reference: 20/HRA/2297, IRAS Number: 283 464. Results will be disseminated through scientific conferences and peer-reviewed open access publications. A report of the findings will also be shared with participants. The study will quantify the scale and determinants of household transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, immunological responses before and during the different stages of infection will be analysed, adding to the understanding of the range of immunological response by infection severity.


BMJ Open



Research Themes:

1. Patient Research for Public Health