CO-CONNECT Update: Focus on Work Package 2

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CO-CONNECT Update: Focus on Work Package 2

Work Package 2 (WP2) aims to support the capture of standardised, granular serology data from across the UK to support clinical decision making and inform public health policies. 

What is the importance of WP2? 

There are over 5 different vendors of serology testing assays currently being used across the UK. There are also many different Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) capturing the data across different health trusts/boards and other organisations.  

Results are currently reported as ‘positive/negative’ rather than the number of antibodies per volume. This is problematic for research as different assay vendors are using different volumes of antibodies to classify a result as either positive or negative. This is because COVID-19 is a new disease with a rapid testing program delivered within a clinical setting without the prior research and calibration needed.  This contrasts with other diseases which have calibrations and research questions determined prior to use in clinical care. Granular detail is required for the calibration of assays and to understand the antibody response related to the level of immunity to COVID-19. 

What are they up to at the moment? 

  • They’ve written the COVID Serology minimum data specification which has been circulated to experts in the field for comment and review. The focus of this work is to standardise the data elements that are reported from laboratory analysers and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) software. 
  • They’ve had discussions with Barts and GOSH Lab systems to discover the data and flow from the analyser and are working with them to modify the LIMS to include additional data fields and processes to capture the granular level of data.   
  • They’re collaborating with the National Pathology Exchange, laboratories and NHS-D to ensure consistency of end-to-end data transfer of the proposed COVID serology minimum data specification.