Design and Implementation of a National SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring Program in England: REACT-1 Study


HPRU-EZI Author: Christl Donnelly


Data System. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) Study was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care in England to provide reliable and timely estimates of prevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection over time, by person and place. Data Collection/Processing. The study team (researchers from Imperial College London and its logistics partner Ipsos) wrote to named individuals aged 5 years and older in random cross-sections of the population of England, using the National Health Service list of patients registered with a general practitioner (near-universal coverage) as a sampling frame. We collected data over 2 to 3 weeks approximately every month across 19 rounds of data collection from May 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022. Data Analysis/Dissemination. We have disseminated the data and study materials widely via the study Web site, preprints, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and the media. We make available data tabulations, suitably anonymized to protect participant confidentiality, on request to the study's data access committee. Public Health Implications. The study provided inter alia real-time data on SARS-CoV-2 prevalence over time, by area, and by sociodemographic variables; estimates of vaccine effectiveness; and symptom profiles, and detected emergence of new variants based on viral genome sequencing.