Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A multi-site project, called ‘What’s the STORY?’ has received funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to assess novel coronavirus infection rates in children and teenagers across the UK. Given the importance of this study to the national Covid-19 response it has been deemed a priority study for the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Urgent Public Health Response.

Children put hands together.

The team, led by Professor Matthew Snape from the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, aims to determine how many children and teenagers have been infected with Covid-19, and what proportion of those have had symptoms. The research will also determine how many children and teenagers have not yet been infected and may remain susceptible to Covid-19 when lockdown measures are relaxed. 

Professor Matthew Snape, Chief Investigator on the study, said:

“To understand the current coronavirus pandemic, we need to work out how many people are becoming infected without showing any symptoms.”

‘What’s the STORY?’ was set up in 2019 as a pilot study to evaluate the UK immunisation programme, but it has now been adapted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This new funding allows the project to expand to include new study sites and recruit an additional 1200 children and teenagers (aged 0-19 years) from across England. The team will also test samples already collected and these data, along with medical histories of Covid-19 symptoms, will provide valuable information into the levels of virus circulating in this segment of the population.

Professor Snape continues:

“With this study we will systematically study the proportion of children and teenagers with immunity against this virus during the course of the pandemic.”

Understanding the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community is vital to supporting public health in response to the pandemic, including in children and teenagers, who are mostly spared the worst of the disease but could be spreading the disease to others. 

Professor Snape concludes:

“This information is vital to informing public policy about how to best manage this devastating outbreak.”

‘What’s the STORY?’ is an ongoing research study led by Oxford Vaccine Group in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE) and a network of clinical sites in Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and St George’s, London.

A key aspect of this project is the need to assess a representative cohort of children and young people, in order to give an accurate “snapshot” of the wider population. The study team are keen to engage a range of individuals and must ensure that the group tested is not biased towards people who think they may have been infected with Covid-19, and for this reason, the study team will not provide test results to participants. 

Existing sites are primarily recruiting through mail out by invitation letters to selected postcodes, and eligible individuals from the catchment areas of each study site have been or will soon be contacted with information about the project. However broader recruitment to new sites is expected to open within the next few weeks, and updates will be available on the study website: whatsthestory.web.ox.ac.uk.

Please Support Now:

Oxford has over 100 researchers working on the urgent response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Public donations of any size will be rapidly put to use in our frontline research.

Please make a gift today >

Similar stories

Oxford vaccine researchers talk research and home-schooling on ITV's This Morning

COVID-19 Public Engagement

Professor Katie Ewer (The Jenner Institute) and Dr Maheshi Ramasamy (Oxford Vaccine Group) appeared on ITV's This Morning on Wednesday 6 January to talk about their work developing the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine, all while juggling the demands of young families and home-schooling.

Oxford vaccine stimulates broad antibody and T cell functions

COVID-19 Publication Research

Researchers from the University of Oxford have published further data from the Phase I/II clinical trials of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine, evidencing the decision to move to a two-dose regimen in ongoing phase III trials, and how ChAdOx1 nCov-19 induces broad antibody and T cell functions.

First peer-reviewed results of phase 3 human trials of Oxford coronavirus vaccine demonstrate efficacy

COVID-19

University of Oxford and AstraZeneca researchers present a pooled analysis of Phase 3 trials of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 across two different dose regimens, resulting in an average efficacy of 70.4%.

Philharmonic Orchestra film special tribute concert for the Oxford vaccine team

Awards & Appointments COVID-19

A special concert to say thank you and pay tribute to the achievements of the Oxford vaccine team has been recorded at the Sheldonian Theatre for a film screening in time for Christmas

Oxford vaccine team shortlisted for parliamentary awards

Awards & Appointments COVID-19

The University of Oxford team who have developed a COVID-19 vaccine in record time have been shortlisted for the Excellence in Healthcare Award at the NHS Parliamentary Awards.