Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) Study
What is the REACT study?
REACT (REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission) is a series of studies that are using home testing to improve our understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic is progressing across England. This major research programme was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and is being carried out by Imperial College London in partnership with Ipsos MORI and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Here’s our announcement from when the study first launched in April 2020.
REACT takes two main approaches to track the virus in the population, looking for both current and past infection.
How REACT 1 and REACT 2 work
REACT 1: Antigen (swab) testing for the coronavirus
Each month over 150,000 people across England are randomly sent a nose/throat swab test to take at home. This helps us understand how many people are currently infected with the coronavirus, including those who aren’t showing symptoms, and identify those who are most at risk.
REACT 2: Antibody (lateral flow) testing
Roughly every 6 weeks, over 100,000 volunteers across England are sent a fingerprick antibody testing kit, called a lateral flow test, which looks for coronavirus antibodies in the blood. This helps us understand how many people have already had COVID-19 and developed antibodies against the virus.
More about REACT
How have the public shaped REACT?
The REACT Public Advisory Group (PAG) was formed in May 2020 to embed public and participant voices into the design and development of the REACT testing programme. They review study material, co-produce content and meet (via Zoom) roughly once a month to share and discuss key updates, study plans and recent findings.
2 column colour block - FAQs and glossary
For researchers: REACT 1 study materials
Find out more about antibody testing and REACT
The REACT Study – What it is and how it works
Find out more about the REACT study
Assessing antibody tests for use in the community
Find out how REACT is assessing different antibody tests for accuracy and ease of use at home
Professor Helen Ward, Professor of Public Health at Imperial College London, talks about her involvement in the REACT study to assess a range of different antibody tests for their accuracy against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and how easily people can use them at home.
Developing effective antibody tests for COVID-19
Prof Graham Taylor walks through what's involved in developing and assessing antibody tests
Professor Graham Taylor, Professor of Human Retrovirology in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London, is part of a team carrying out antibody testing to assess if a person has previously been infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. At the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) COVID-19 webinar series, he talked us through how teams at St Mary’s Hospital and North West London Pathology based at Charing Cross Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, were performing developing and testing antibody tests to inform a nationwide study.
Q&A with the REACT team
REACT researchers Dr Atchison and Prof Barclay host a public Q&A session on antibody testing
Dr Christina Atchison and Professor Wendy Barclay gave a live Q&A session on 22 July to share all things testing, from why antibody testing is helping our response to the outbreak, to why it's too soon to rely on them to change our behaviour. They responded to questions posed by a live online audience.
How Imperial is using antibody testing to track the outbreak
Scientists explain antibody testing work to track the spread of COVID-19 in the UK
Researchers at Imperial College London have been working with clinicians at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust on a programme of work to develop a ‘gold standard’ antibody test that can be used widely to track rates of coronavirus infections in the UK’s population.