Essential information > Data for COVID-19 research > COVID-19 test results data

COVID-19 test results data

Overview

COVID-19 test results data are being provided to UK Biobank by Public Health England (PHE), Public Health Scotland (PHS) and SAIL for English, Scottish and Welsh data respectively.

Researchers who have registered for this data can access it via the Data Portal in the tables covid19_result_england, covid19_result_scotland and covid19_result_wales. See COVID-19 data for registration and access details and Resource 1758 for further information.

All research outputs (which includes publications and other results posted on social media) that use these special datasets 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 UK Biobank of any PR they are planning. (ukbiobank@sanctuarycounsel.com)

The structures of the test result data tables are described in the:

COVID-19 test result data dictionary

Please note that the structure of the tables might change in the future.

Guidance for use of the COVID-19 data

Please note that the nature of the dataset has evolved as testing scaled and more community testing was introduced. These data should therefore be analysed within the context of changing testing capacity. In order to fully ascertain cases and to evaluate disease severity, data should also be used from linked medical records (i.e. primary care, hospital inpatient records and death records).

Data transmission times to UK Biobank may vary between and within providers, so please take this time lag into consideration.

The vast majority of samples tested for COVID-19 disease are from combined nose/throat swabs, that are transported in a medium suitable for viruses (a balanced salt solution), for PCR to be performed. In intensive care settings, lower respiratory samples may also be analysed.

These data should not be used to estimate prevalence rates or to model projected rates of COVID-19 infection, as UK Biobank is not a nationally representative sample.

Any test result records that are exact duplicates of other records (arising from results reaching providers via different routes) will not be made available. Any record that is not an exact duplicate of a previous record is presumed to be a new result; note in some instances this may cause edited records to be added again as additional results.

Researchers should also be aware that some overlap exists between data received from English, Scottish and Welsh providers. Where results from the same test have been received from more than one provider, no attempt has been made to deduplicate test results across tables within the Data Portal. Please also note that not all laboratories are reporting negative results, and those that do report negative results after a certain date do not necessarily update previously submitted results to include negative tests.

As of the update on 27 May 2020, this data now includes 'pillar 2' positives. Pillar 2 is the 'superlab' testing carried out by commercial partners, used for staff screening and for care homes. For further details, please see the GOV.UK information page.