Join the UniCoV study by clicking your University below.

What is the UniCoV study?

A pilot surveillance study to assist in the detection of increased levels of COVID-19 across higher education institutes with the aim of facilitating the safe and sustainable re-opening of campuses 

Goal

To facilitate the return to campus activity!  

The goal of the UniCoV study is to develop and inform SARS-CoV-2 rapid testing and surveillance systems in further and Higher Education Institutes in the Republic of Ireland and to assist the return to campus activity.

Who can join the study?

You can join the UniCoV study if you:

  • Are a registered student or staff member of a named further or higher educational institution over 18 years of age
  • Provide signed assurance that you have no COVID-19 symptoms or knowingly harbour and communicable disease that can be transmitted via contact with saliva samples
  • Signed the prior informed consent document associated with each saliva and anterior nasal sample
  • Have access to a smartphone or computer to enable completion of study-related tasks

What are the benefits of joining the UniCoV study?

The study may identify asymptomatic infection which would not have otherwise been identified, you will be making a contribution to science, and there may be a benefit to the future development of surveillance system for SARS- CoV-2 infection for third-level institutions. It also may result in the safe and sustainable return to campus for many of our students, staff and faculty.

What does participation involve?

Volunteers will be allocated to one of two subgroups, namely one group that will perform ongoing sequential self-testing twice weekly for a duration of 8 weeks, or another group that will be asked to act as a cross-sectional testing group and will test twice weekly with self-administered tests in two-week periods.

In each phase (summer and autumn) of UniCoV, volunteers will initially be randomised to Group A or Group B:

Group A

Group A will consist of 200 people at each of the 4 sites. Volunteers will serial-test with saliva and rapid nasal swab testing, twice weekly for a duration of 8 weeks. They may be asked to undergo an HSE-administered nasopharyngeal sampling for PCR on one occasion. This is not mandatory.

Group B

Group B consists of volunteers who will surveillance-test with saliva and rapid nasal swab testing twice weekly for 2-week blocks at points in a course of 8 weeks. Volunteers will be invited to obtain a non-mandatory HSE-administered nasopharyngeal sampling for PCR at the local test site. At each site, each week 100 individuals will start twice-weekly testing for 2 weeks, from week 1 to week 8 inclusive; 800 volunteers in summer and 800 in autumn.

If you enrol, what is expected of you?

You will be expected to:

  1. Have a computer with a camera or smartphone
  2. Read and understand the participant information leaflet
  3. Complete the consent form
  4. Register
  5. Collect the participant package
  6. Carry out tests as requested by allocation to a group
  7. Upload your results and drop off saliva samples to campus drop-off boxes
  8. Complete weekly questionnaires
  9. Continue to follow public health guidelines as advised with regard to test results.
At a glance: how the process works for participants

How do I take the tests?

Who is sponsoring and funding this study?

This study is led by investigators across each of the participating university sites – National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Dublin (UCD), and University College Cork (UCC). The research project is co-funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Strategic Partnership Programme, the participating Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Who has overall responsibility for this study?

Prof. Breda Smyth, NUI Galway will lead the study. The UniCov Oversight Team, made up of the Principal Investigators at each University, will have overall responsibility for the study.

Why is UniCoV important for you?

UniCoV is an opportunity for us to continue to keep case numbers low and avoid a surge of cases as we approach Autumn and Winter like we experienced last year so that we can ensure that our campuses stay open throughout the academic year.

Asha Woodhouse, Student Union President at UCC

The UniCoV Project will go a long way to provide students with increased ability to protect themselves from COVID-19 and reduce the risk of widespread community transmission on campus. Reducing community transmission is vital to achieve a meaningful on-campus experience for UCD Students.

Ruairi Power, SU President at University College Dublin.

UniCoV is an initiative to ensure we can all return to campus safely. Regular testing, social distancing, and vaccinations are the key to a return to normality!

Leah Keogh, President of Trinity College Students Union

From my very first meeting with the HEI’s in the UniCoV project, I collaborated on this crucial project to offer the postgraduate community in Trinity College further safety and protection whilst researching. When it comes to COVID-19 no one is safe unless all of us are safe, and this is an important opportunity for the postgraduate community to lead out in Trinity College and engage with UniCoV whilst in labs or finishing dissertations over the summer months. I have worked with the major stakeholders over the past few months and will be engaging with the UniCoV testing immediately. I encourage all Trinity College postgraduates to join me so that we can work together to reduce community transmission and provide a safe campus Community over the coming months.

Gisèle Scanlon, President, Trinity Graduate Students' Union 2021/22

UniCoV can give us peace of mind when returning to campus to know that we can safely be on campus every day.

Róisín Nic Lochlainn, President of NUI Galway Student Union

Join the UniCoV study by clicking your University below.