1 May 2020
Zoom call with members of the public: intro slides, snap poll & breakout room discussions
Helen Ward, Christina Atchison, Philippa Pristerà
Breakout room hosts / facilitators (A-Z):
Anna Lawrence-Jones, Maria Piggin, Philippa Pristerà, Rozlyn Redd /
Christina Atchison, Emily Cooper, Helen Ward, Jane Bruton, Vasiliki Papageorgiou
Insight Report authors:
Emily Cooper, Philippa Pristerà
The REACT study, which stands for REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission, is a complex research programme looking at community transmission of SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. More on the study in this news article. The second arm of the study, REACT2, will look to confirm the accuracy, usability and acceptability of widespread home self-testing for SARS-COV-2 antibodies. It is important to know how accurate and easy these tests are to use before sending them to larger numbers of the general public. The test involves doing a finger prick, collecting a drop of blood and adding it to a testing strip that looks and works much like a pregnancy test. PERC are supporting this study by carrying out community involvement to gain early insight on people's thoughts about antibody testing in general, as well as their questions, concerns and suggestions to inform piloting of the self-testing kits in the community.
On Friday 1st May 2020, we held a community involvement zoom call (12–1pm), which was attended by 37 members of the public from across the UK. The majority were relatively experienced with public involvement in research, but for some this was their first time engaging with us in this way.
The agenda for the call included:
- Context for the call and an introduction to the project team
- A quick introduction to antibody testing and immunity
- Our plans for the REACT studies and community involvement
- Q&A and PreDiscussion Poll
- Breakout room discussions (4 rooms; 9–10 members of the public per room) covering broad topics including (i) Understanding/Concerns/Acceptability (ii) Logistics (iii) Public material
- Next Steps and Further Questions.
Overall the REACT study was well received, and at-home antibody testing was viewed to be appropriate. However, some felt an alternative approach to testing (beyond just at-home/self-testing) would be needed for certain groups who might struggle with the test due to perceived usability/accessibility challenges. Comments raised during the breakout room discussions have been themed and summarized in our Insight Report, which is available to download. Key messages are highlighted below.
- Overall support for the at-home antibody test with most feeling they would want to take part.
➢ 97% (n=34) of respondents to our anonymous snap poll said they would be likely or very likely to take an at-home antibody test based on what they had heard during the call
➢ Participants also suggested they would be happy for the test to be available to their family members with some attendees also feeling that it would acceptable and desirable to test children with parental consent although this is something we would want to explore further with parent groups.
- Perceived usability challenges of the test may exclude certain members of the population.
➢ In general, the test was seen to present usability/accessibility challenges for those with physical or mental impairments, or those for whom English is not their first language.
➢ Several parts of the testing kit were viewed as being difficult to use or needing improvement. For example, people found the pipette difficult to use or did not understand where to deposit the blood on the cassette.
- Instruction video and booklet considered to be clear and well designed
➢ The sharing of testing instructions via a combination of video and instruction booklet was received positively, with both parts thought to be well designed.
➢ Some changes were suggested to improve their comprehensibility. For example, making the video shorter or in two parts and adding more detail to the booklet.
➢ Although call participants understood the REACT2 study is focused on the usability of the test (and that individual results could not be relied on as an indicator of immunity), there were still a number of comments regarding the accuracy of the results, including: (1) Concern around how people might interpret and feel about their test results and whether it would cause people to change their behaviour; and (2) Suggestions around how the accuracy of the test and purpose of study could be conveyed more clearly in the information booklet and what the limitations would mean for people’s perceptions of the test.
- Attendees identified several ways that the REACT2 study could be improved, including:
➢ Clear data sharing agreements
➢ Strong and consistent messaging and external/public communication about the study
➢ Recruitment that ensures representation from the BAME communities who might be most affected be SARS-COV-2 and/or the coronavirus outbreak in general