THE research department for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is recruiting to a study looking at Covid-19 immunity.

A report prepared for the trust, which runs Andover and Basingstoke hospitals, said that 222 people have so far been recruited to Public Health England’s SIREN (Sarscov2 Immunity & REinfection EvaluatioN) study, with a target to find 250.

The study is described in the report as an “urgent public health priority study” with the objective of determining if Covid-19 infection in health care workers results in future immunity to re-infection.

A letter sent to chief executives of hospital trusts in June, from bosses at NHS England, said the SIREN study will also allow organisations to “estimate the prevalence of SARS-Cov-2 (Covid-19) infection in healthcare workers and utilise this information to determine wider staff testing”.

It added: “Trusts should support staff in enrolling, and support the study with…testing from hospital resources, working with pathology networks and support across regions to ensure capacity is available.”

It asked trusts to support a minimum of 10 per cent of staff to enroll in the study, to identify whether antibody responses are sustained and whether they protect people from re-infection.

The protocol for the study asks for staff to be tested every two weeks with a blood test.

Earlier this week, it was reported nationally that a 25-year-old man in the United States had caught Covid for the second time, raising questions about how much immunity can be built up to the virus.