UK Biobank are now receiving COVID-19 test data for UK Biobank participants in England.
In addition, we are receiving more frequent updates of data than we have before on:
Inpatient hospital admissions, including intensive care;
Primary care data.
Please note that the release of the primary care data are subject to the Control of Patient Information (COPI) regulations and can only be used for research related to COVID-19. The other datasets are under no such restrictions and can be used for all health research purposes that are in the public interest.
We are aiming to incorporate all of these data as rapidly as possible into the UK Biobank database.
Further details about the COVID-19 data release timelines can be found at:
Current and future availability of COVID-19 related health outcome data.
Any COVID-19 related research can be done under an existing MTA for an approved project, with no changes or additional fees.
Please can we remind researchers that all research outputs (including pre-prints/publications and other results posted on social media) should be sent to UK Biobank prior to public release, so that we are fully aware of any media interest. Researchers should also ensure that the communications teams within their own institutes are aware of the work and that they inform the UK Biobank communications team of any PR they are planning (email@example.com)
Registering to access COVID-19 related data
If you are already an approved UK Biobank researcher with a project underway, and wish to receive these datasets for COVID-19 research purposes, you can register to receive these data by logging into the Access Management System (AMS). Go to the Data tab for your project and click the button that says ‘Request COVID-19 data and updates’. This takes you to a sign-up website where you can select the specific types of COVID-19 related data you require.
If you are an approved UK Biobank researcher but your project is not yet underway, please wait until your project has been approved before registering to receive these data.
If you are not an approved UK Biobank researcher, please visit the UK Biobank website to learn more about the project and, if appropriate, submit a registration. Once you have been approved, you can then submit an application to request these data.
The Principal Investigator of the project will need to sign-up to apply for these data and – if requesting access to the primary care data – will be asked to confirm that the data will only be used for COVID-19 related research.
Accessing the COVID-19 data via the Data Portal
In order to expedite access to these data, you do not need to add the relevant data-fields (e.g. Field 40100 for COVID-19 test results) to your existing basket.
The COVID-19 test data and some linked medical records data (i.e. deaths, hospital inpatient admissions in England) have already been made available via the Data Portal on Data Showcase, and these will be updated as and when new data becomes available (including data for hospital inpatient admissions in Scotland and Wales, hospital intensive care, and primary care).
No basket refresh is required to access updated COVID-19 test result data.
We plan to email all researchers who have registered to access the COVID-19 data to inform them when a new type of linkage data are available on the Data Portal.
We will also provide updates when new data are available in the 'Keeping up-to-date with data releases' section here.
Accessing the Data Portal
To access the Data Portal, the researcher needs to login to the Access Management System (AMS), navigate to their project (click Projects then View/Update), click on the Data tab, and then on the Data refresh or download option at the bottom of the page.
This leads to the Downloads page on the UKB showcase where, if approved for record data or COVID-19 data, there will be a Data Portal tab. Clicking on the Connect button opens up the portal into which SQL statements may be entered and the results viewed and downloaded.
The COVID-19 test results data are available in a table called covid19_result, details of which are provided on the following page:
COVID-19 test results data format.
Further guidance on using the Data Portal and using SQL to query the tables can be found in Resource 591, section 7.2. and the Accessing data guide in section 5.1.
Only the project Principal Investigator (PI) and collaborators with delegate rights can access the Data Portal. The project PI can assign delegate rights to other collaborators by using the Collaborators tab on the AMS.