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What’s the STORY of infectious diseases in the UK?

Press release issued: 26 October 2020

A study looking at how children's immune systems respond to COVID-19, and to vaccines for other infectious diseases, is asking children under the age of 20 who live in the Bristol area to consider taking part. The research project is being run by the Bristol Children’s Vaccine Centre (BCVC) at Bristol Medical School, and the Oxford Vaccine Group which is part of the University of Oxford.

The aim of this study is to help understand the STORY (Serum Testing Of Representative Youngsters) of infectious diseases in the UK. One of the ways people’s bodies develop protection against infectious diseases is by developing antibodies, either after an infection or following a vaccination.  Researchers are able to measure the antibodies to see how well protected people are from those infectious diseases.

The research team, working with Public Health England, will develop a new way of surveying how well protected people are from infectious diseases by collecting blood samples from people who represent different groups across society.

Researchers will take a blood sample from people aged from birth to 20 years of age to look at their antibody levels against important infectious diseases. The study team is particularly interested in Group C meningococcus (MenC) and diphtheria and in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Dr Marion Roderick, the study’s lead investigator and visiting Senior Lecturer at Bristol Medical School and consultant paediatrician at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, said: “This research will help us understand whether we need to make any changes to the UK vaccine schedule and tell us about the number of infections with COVID-19 in the UK.

“In Bristol we have recruited 220 young people, but we are looking for more.  We have space in our half term clinic, so please get in touch if you would like to take part.”

Participants will need to make one visit to the clinic, for a blood sample, which will take approximately 45 minutes. 

The study team is especially keen for people to participate from the following postcodes: BS2, BS3, BS8, BS20, BS37, BS41.

Participation in the study is voluntary and a £20 voucher will be offered for taking part.  Participants will have the right to withdraw at any point.

To find out more about the study and how to take part, visit the STORY website, email or tel: 0117 342 0160.

Further information

About the Bristol Children's Vaccine Centre (BCVC)

The Bristol Children's Vaccine Centre (BCVC) is a group of doctors, nurses and scientists working together to develop new, better ways to prevent and treat infectious diseases.

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

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Bristol UNCOVER Group
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, researchers at the University of Bristol formed the Bristol COVID Emergency Research Group (UNCOVER) to pool resources, capacities and research efforts to combat this infection.

Bristol UNCOVER includes clinicians, immunologists, virologists, synthetic biologists, aerosol scientists, epidemiologists and mathematical modellers and has links to behavioural and social scientists, ethicists and lawyers.

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For more information about the University of Bristol’s coronavirus (COVID-19) research priorities visit:

Bristol UNCOVER is supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute
Find out more about the Institute’s COVID-19 research looking into five key areas: virus natural history, therapeutics and diagnostics research; epidemiology; clinical management; vaccines; and ethics and social science.

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