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Thousands of local people take part in ground-breaking coronavirus research

Press release issued: 5 May 2020

A record number of local people have taken part in new research from the Children of the 90s health study to track COVID-19 symptoms and effects.

Over 6000 took part in this ground-breaking research within the first 3 weeks of it launching, which is being conducted by Children of the 90s, a study from the University of Bristol. However there are still many more local people out there who the study are trying to reach.

Children of the 90s is a world-renowned health study which has tracked mothers and their children from the Avon area since their birth in 1991/92. They launched this new piece of research in order to better understand the hidden iceberg of people who may have the virus but report only minor symptoms – perhaps not even realising it is COVID-19. Understanding prevalence and impact of COVID-19 (and population control of the outbreak) is crucial in order help stem the rate of infection and manage future mitigating tasks like Lockdown.

Professor Nic Timpson, Principal Investigator explained: “Children of the 90s is in a unique position because we have such a large cohort of people who are actively part of the study and who represent groups with differing clinical risk. We’ve got data going back over 30 years and this coupled with our most recent questionnaire will allow us to better understand the population dynamics of the disease and the fallout from out attempts to stop it."

The study has already played a role in helping to build evidence to help government policy on the virus and this new research, funded by the Elizabeth Backwell Institute, will provide even more data to help scientists across the UK and the world.

Professor Timpson continued: "We’ve had an incredible response from the people who are part of our study. We couldn’t do this vital work without our participants and this is why we’re keen to reach as many of our participants as we possibly can. Even if you haven’t done anything with the study for years, we’re urging you to get back in touch and to help us spread the word amongst your family and friends too. This is a way you can make a real difference to the pandemic."

Dr James Dodd, Respiratory Consultant at Southmead Hospital, said: "As a consultant here at Southmead Hospital, I know how important this Children of the 90s study is right now in the fight against coronavirus. If you’re a participant, and can spare 10 minutes to answer this questionnaire, it will help government understand how many people may have had this virus, even without symptoms, and this will help us manage the infection more quickly. Thanks for your help, and for doing your bit for the NHS."

If you were born in the Avon area between April 1991 and 1992 then you may be eligible to take part. Parents of the original study children can also answer the simple questionnaire. To get back in touch, text your full name and date of birth to 07772 909090 or visit

Further information

About Children of the 90s
Based at the University of Bristol, Children of the 90s, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), is a long-term health research project that enrolled more than 14,000 pregnant women in 1991 and 1992. It has been following the health and development of the parents, their children and now their grandchildren in detail ever since. It receives core funding from the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the University of Bristol.

About Elizabeth Blackwell Institute
Nurturing research. Improving health.

The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute drives innovation in research to improve health for all. It nurtures interdisciplinary research to address the complex health challenges facing us today.

The institute focuses on:

•  Supporting the next generation of health researchers

•  Connecting people to develop interdisciplinary research

•  Including everyone in research so the research can benefit all.

Support University of Bristol COVID-19 research 
University of Bristol researchers are part of a global network of scientists responding urgently to the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic.

Find out how you can support their critical work


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