Care home residents across Wiltshire will take part in a new study into antibodies created in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

The Orders of St John Care Trust has homes in Marlborough, Devizes, Chippenham, Melksham and Trowbridge, and its residents and employees will join other organisations in participating in the research projects, known as Vivaldi 2.

The research is being conducted by scientists at University College London (UCL).

The purpose of the project is to study if we produce antibodies after suffering COVID-19and what the implication of those antibodies might be in respect of building up immunity.

The study follows the first Vivaldi project which sought to determine how many care home staff and residents have been infected with COVID-19.

This will enable the sector to develop the best approach to COVID-19 testing in the future and data was collected throughout summer and is now being analysed.

Vivaldi 2 will involve three blood samples: an initial sample, a follow-up after six weeks and a further sample at 12 weeks.

For those volunteers who have returned a positive COVID-19 test during the process, further samples will be taken after six and 12 months.

Researchers will also have access to NHS information stored at the organisations data store, known as The Foundry.

OSJCT Chief Executive Dan Hayes said: “It’s vitally important that we participate in these studies and support the search for a long-term solution to this unprecedented challenge.

“We are well known for the high-standards of care that colleagues across OSJCT provide. Looking to the future and ensuring that we can return to ‘normality’ is another key element of that.”

Claire Sykes, Senior Project manager, is running the project at the Trust.

She added: “I’m proud to be coordinating the support for this important study on behalf of the Trust. Our dedicated care home colleagues, despite having unprecedented demands during this pandemic, have risen to the challenge as they always do.”

Participation in the project is entirely voluntary.

Consent gathering will be carried out during November will blood sample testing beginning in December and continuing for three months.