The Alex collaborates on research into Covid-19 and young people

A doctor at the Alex is helping with vital research into how young people transmit coronavirus.

Dr Katy Fidler, consultant paediatrician in infectious diseases, is collaborating on a research project alongside two other medical experts from University of Oxford and the University of Bristol which could help guide government policy.

Dr Fidler said: “Brighton was the city with the first known UK ‘Covid-19 super spreader’, but luckily the city has been relatively unaffected so far, compared to London. This could be for a number of reasons, but further knowledge of the percentage of asymptomatic infections in teenagers at school pre-lockdown would aid our understanding into how this pandemic may evolve, post-lockdown.”

The study uses throat swabs from school pupils in Brighton and around the country which originally began as a research study of meningitis vaccines, led by the University of Oxford.

The samples, which were taken in February and March, can be used to test for Covid-19 and will help determine the percentage of these students who were well and showing no symptoms of Covid-19 but were potentially unknowingly spreading it.

This research could have a great impact on the decisions made in the coming months around the re-opening of schools and colleges and help understand how best to protect the most vulnerable.

It will also provide crucially important knowledge about how the virus spreads which will be important to help plan for a second wave of COVID-19 or for future pandemics with similar viruses.