What are the purposes of the research?
The primary aim is to track symptoms related to coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) and antibody levels to the virus (“SARS-CoV-2”) across a large and diverse sample of the population of England. A secondary aim is to find out why some people who carry the virus have symptoms while others do not.
Why is the research important?
The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 virus), which causes the disease COVID-19, has spread all over the world; scientists are working hard to understand more about the virus.
Initial surveillance has focused primarily on patients with severe symptoms (including those who require hospitalisation). There is, therefore, an important need to define and understand who gets no or mild symptoms, and how “immunity” to (i.e., protection against) the infection is developing in the general population. This information will help to determine the extent of infection in the general population as well as helping to design new ways to prevent and treat such infections.
Who is undertaking this research?
The University of Cambridge is running the TRACK-COVID study.
Why I have I been invited to join?
We are specifically inviting participants from the INTERVAL, COMPARE and STRIDES studies to this survey. Because key data (e.g. blood sample measurements, genetic results, lifestyle factors, health records etc.) have already been recorded for participants in these previous efforts, it makes these individuals (i.e., you) ideal to study in order to help understand factors related to COVID-19.
Who has approved the study?
The research has been reviewed by an independent group of people, called a Research Ethics Committee, which is there to protect your safety, rights, wellbeing and dignity. This project has been reviewed and was given a favourable review by the East Midlands - Nottingham 2 Research Ethics Committee (ref: 20/EM0121)
Who do I contact if I have any concerns?
If you have any concerns or complaints about anything to do with the TRACK-COVID study then you can telephone the freephone number on: 0800 021 7182 Mon to Fri: 9:00 – 17:00 or email us at: email@example.com
Alternatively, if you would like to write to the person in charge, please send your letter to:
TRACK-COVID coordinator, University of Cambridge, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Wort’s Causeway, Cambridge CB1 8RN.
We will reply to your letter promptly in writing, unless you enclose your telephone number and wish to discuss your concerns with us.
I have received a link to an online questionnaire but not the password – what should I do?
Please check that the email with the password is not in your junk/spam email folder. The email subject is “TRACK-COVID key”. If you cannot locate the email then please contact us.
I have changed my email address, what should I do?
You can contact the study team on 0800 021 7182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know and we will update our records so you will continue to receive study correspondence.
Do I have to join the TRACK-COVID study?
No, it is completely up to you. If you decide to take part you will be asked to sign a consent form. You are free to withdraw at any time, without giving a reason. Your decision will have no influence on your blood donation now or in the future.
Will the research benefit me/can I know the results?
We will not provide you with any new information or advice based on the data you provide which means participating will have no direct benefit to you. However, it is an opportunity to help research, which addresses an important public health issues. We do not pay participants for taking part.
The findings from this study will be discussed with key government agencies responsible for helping with the coronavirus pandemic (e.g., Public Health England), written up for publication in scientific journals, and presented to other researchers. You will not be identified personally in any report or publication. In due course we will also provide details of the findings of the study on the TRACK-COVID study website and/or send a study update newsletters.
How is my data kept confidential?
Your data will not include any personal identifiable details, other than to run the study. Therefore, researchers working with your data will never know your identity. Your data are stored using a unique, anonymous study identification number.
Please see the information booklet for more details on this.
Can I withdraw from the study?
You can choose to withdraw from the study any time. You will be asked to confirm this by signing a withdrawal form. You can withdraw from the study by telephoning us on 0800 021 7182 or by sending an email to study helpdesk (email@example.com). This would allow us to determine the desired level of withdrawal from the following options:
•“No further contact”: In addition to no longer contacting you, we would no longer be able to obtain directly but would still have your permission to retains and use information and to retain access to information from your health records.
• “No further use”: in addition to no longer contacting you or obtaining information from your health records, any information collected previously would no longer be available for researchers.
There are two lines on the tube, where should I fill it to?
If possible, please fill to the first line (400).
I can’t fill my tube to the line, what should I do?
Please fill the tube as much as possible and send back to us (even if it is empty). Posting your sample back to us will ensure you are sent your next pack.
My blood is not dripping into the tube, what should I do?
For future samples ensure you are well hydrated and wash your hands in warm water, this will help your blood flow.
Why is my blood not mixing with the substance at the bottom of the sample tube?
The substance at the bottom of the sample tube is known as a ‘serum block’. It should be gel-like in consistency and should not mix with the sample.
Why have I received two lancets in my sample pack?
We provide you with two lancets with one acting as a backup.
I cannot get my lancet to work, what should I do?
If you have not already done so, please watch the sample taking YouTube video found on your information leaflet or follow this link https://www.trackcovid.org.uk/stage-2/.
I can’t find my barcode label to put onto my sample tube, what should I do?
A second barcode label is attached to your Royal Mail postage envelope so your sample can be identified at the laboratory.
I am going away on holiday when my next sample pack is due to be posted, what should I do?
If your sample pack is posted to you whilst you are on holiday, please collect your sample and post back to us upon your return. You may still receive reminder texts and emails to post your pack as these are automatically generated when your pack is posted.
Why is my return blood sample package not being accepted at the post office?
You do not need to take your package into a post office, please post your sample back to us using your nearest priority postal box. You can find one of the 13,000 specially selected Royal Mail priority post-boxes by following this link https://www.royalmail.com/services-near-you#/
When will I receive my next sample pack?
Once we have received your sample at the laboratory we will post your sample pack in time for you to take your next sample which is approximately every six weeks.