On 28 October 2021, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) launched a new funding call for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey (CIS), inviting academic collaborations through short statistical data analysis projects.

The CIS continues to be a leading source of data during the coronavirus pandemic and has informed important questions from policy-makers, academics and the public. The survey provides critical core insights into the levels of infections and antibody positivity as well as a plethora of analysis spanning reinfections, vaccine effectiveness and identifying those factors most frequently seen in positive cases.

Fourteen applications were received in response to the funding call, which were all individually assessed by a panel.

The decision has been made to accept three applications, with the intent to award funding to the following academic collaborations.

Sarah Rhodes, University of Manchester

Research summary

This project will explore how occupation affects COVID-19 viral load and vaccination status. Through this the project will explore how occupational differences vary by ethnic group and region, using four-way effect decomposition. Finally, the project will assess whether observed differences in COVID-19 positivity across occupations is mirrored in differences for the prevalence and severity of long COVID.

Nazrul Islam, University of Oxford

Research summary

The overarching aim of this project is to examine the socioeconomic inequalities in the bidirectional relationship of occupation with COVID-19 exposure and post-COVID care pathways. Through this the project will investigate the socioeconomic inequalities caused by the coronavirus pandemic on several measures including unemployment, the ability to work from home, delay in seeking care, and the risk of developing long COVID across occupations.

James Munday, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Research summary

This project aims to explore whether data on infection prevalence, contact patterns and immunity predict age-specific future prevalence. Using a combination of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey infection and antibody prevalence data with regularly collected age-specific contact data, the researchers will forecast future infections of SARS-CoV-2 by age group. These could then be used to create forecasts of hospitalisations and deaths by age group.

Each project will deliver a summary report and presentation to the ONS by the end of March 2022.

These projects will aim to use the depth of data from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey to delve into some of the observed trends across the pandemic.