If you have any questions that are not answered here, please contact the helpline team by emailing UK-Covid-Saliva-Test@ipsos.com.
III. Taking Part
Do I have to take part?
What do I have to do?
How do I register to take part and receive a test kit?
I don’t want to take part, can I opt out?
Do I have to do both tests?
I don’t want to take part, what should I do with the kit?.
Why have you sent this to my deceased relative?
I received a test kit, but this person does not live at this address. What do I do?
IV. Using the test kit
Which test do I do first?
How do I do the saliva sample?
How do I use the swab test?
I am having trouble taking the test, can you help?
I haven’t got a booklet. What should I do?
Can someone help me take the swab?
Can someone else take the test instead of me?
I did one of the tests wrong. Can you send me another test?
Can you send me another test for someone else in my household to do it?
I’ve injured myself or feel unwell – what should I do?
V. Sending the tests for analysis and next steps
How do I send the tests for analysis?
How do I label the tests?
How will the courier collect the test while keeping social distancing?
I accidently did someone else’s test and sent it back, what do I do?
Is there a cut-off date for sending back the swab test & saliva sample?
I have taken the tests but have not booked the courier, what should I do?
What will happen to my saliva sample?
Will you analyse my DNA as part of the testing?
Where and how are the saliva samples kept?
What will happen to the swab test once I have sent it?
Will I find out the results of the saliva test?
Will I find out the results of the swab test?
How long will it take for me to get the results?
My test result is positive, what does this mean?.
My test result is negative, what does this mean?.
My test result is inconclusive/invalid, what does this mean?
VII. GDPR and Ethics
Is this research GDPR compliant?
What will happen with the information I provide?
Do you share my information with others?
What are my choices about how my information is used?
Where can I find out more about how my information is used?
Has this research received ethical approval?
How were people chosen to take part?
Are national data opt-outs applied to this survey?
Have you got access to my health data?
Who is my name and address shared with?
What happens to the answers I give online?
Where will my personal data be held and processed?
What happens to my tests?
How will Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London ensure my personal information is secure?
How long will Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London retain my personal data and identifiable responses?
How can I contact DHSC, Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London about this survey and/or my personal data?
Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London are conducting this research on behalf of the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), to help improve testing for COVID-19 by assessing whether it is possible to use a saliva sample instead of a swab test.
- If you need government advice on coronavirus please refer to the government website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- If you need medical advice please refer to the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- If you have any questions, please contact the helpline team by emailing UK-Covid-Saliva-Test@ipsos.com
This FAQ document answers questions in the first person ‘I’ but please substitute this with ‘my child’ where relevant. Similarly, responses are written out as ‘you’, please substitute this with ‘your child’ where relevant.
Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London are conducting this research on behalf of the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), to help the Government develop its approach to COVID-19 testing.
Imperial College London is a leading university closely involved in the COVID-19 response and Ipsos MORI is an independent research organisation. Both are carrying out the study on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). You can find out more about Imperial College London at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/ , Ipsos MORI at www.ipsos-mori.com, and DHSC at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health-and-social-care
Your name was chosen at random from the NHS list of patients registered with a GP. Under the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018 NHS England are responsible for your data. For the data collected as part of this survey, Department of Health and Social Care will be a joint ‘Data Controller’ together with Imperial College London. Ipsos MORI will be a data processor acting on our behalf to carry out the survey.
Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London will keep your contact details confidential and use them to send out the test for this study if you register to take part. Neither organisation has been given any information about your health.
You have been randomly selected to take part in this research to help develop the approach to COVID-19 testing.
A swab test or ‘antigen’ test involves taking a swab of your nose and throat. We will provide full instructions with the kit. There is no obligation to take the test if you agree to be sent it. The test is of a high clinical standard, can be self-administered, and takes only a few minutes to complete. It may cause some mild short-lived discomfort. The test tells us whether you may currently have the COVID-19 virus, not whether you have had it in the past. Results are not 100% conclusive so a negative result does not guarantee you do not have the virus.
A saliva test involves taking a sample of your saliva. You will need to fill a tube with your saliva which is then sent for analysis. It is important that you do not eat or drink for 30 minutes before providing your sample. Full instructions are provided with the kit. The saliva test is only analysed to look for the presence of the viral RNA – there will be no analysis of your DNA or RNA as part of this study unless you provide explicit consent to this when asked in the questionnaire.
Taking part is voluntary and you do not have to take part if you do not want to. If you do decide to take part, the results will help understand more about how home testing is conducted and the experiences of people undertaking home testing.
If you agree to take part, you will need to register online or via telephone if you do not have access to the internet by calling FREEPHONE helpline 0808 141 3062 and answering some questions about you. We will then send you the two COVID-19 self-testing kits. It is very important that you do both tests as the purpose of this study is to compare the results of the two tests. The first test involves providing a sample of your saliva. The second test involves taking a swab of your nose and throat. We will provide full instructions. There is no obligation to take the test if you agree to be sent it.
Once you have done the tests, the kit will be collected by courier and taken to a laboratory. We will inform you of the result of the swab test (showing whether or not the COVID-19 virus was detected on the sample you provided).
We would also like you to complete a short questionnaire as well as doing the tests, which asks about you, including your health and any COVID-19 related symptoms you may have had.
The results of both tests will be passed to Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London to link to the information in the questionnaire. All questionnaire information will be kept confidential by Ipsos MORI and approved Imperial College London staff and researchers. Nobody will be able to identify you in any published results.
You can register by going to www.reactstudy.org/salivareg. If you do not have access to the internet you can register by telephoning our FREEPHONE helpline on 0808 141 3062.
Yes. Please telephone our FREEPHONE helpline on 0808 141 3062 or email UK-Covidfirstname.lastname@example.org. When you contact us, please provide your address or the eight-character serial on your letter.
As the purpose of the study is to compare the results of the new saliva test with the standard swab test it is important that you do both tests if you can. If you have trouble with one of the tests so that you are unable to complete it, please make sure you complete the questionnaire to let us know what the problem was.
Please complete the survey so we know why people are not able or willing to use the test kits. Please then dispose of the test kits securely – do not pass it to anyone else, even if they feel unwell. You can dispose of the test kit in your standard rubbish, please just place it in the jiffy bag it came in and throw it away (you can recycle the flat pack box that came with the test).
We sincerely apologise for sending the letter to your relative, and we are sorry for any distress or upset this may have caused. Names were chosen at random from the NHS list of patients registered with a GP in England and this may have happened because the records held for your relative are not up to date or have not yet been changed. You can telephone our FREEPHONE helpline on 0808 141 3062 or email UK-Covidemail@example.com with the address or eight character serial on the letter to opt out of further correspondence for this research.
If you have received a test kit which is not addressed to you or someone in your household, please do not take the test but dispose of the test securely. You can dispose of the test kit in your standard rubbish, please just place it in the bag it came in and throw it away (you can recycle the flat pack box that came with the test).
Using the test kit
Please do the saliva sample first. Make sure you do not eat or drink for 30 minutes before providing your saliva sample. Once you have completed the saliva sample please then do the swab test.
Please read the instructions provided. You need to spit into the funnel until the amount of liquid saliva reaches the fill line. Then close the funnel lid by pushing down until it clicks. Unscrew the funnel and replace with the small cap. Screw the cap on tightly and then shake the tube for 5 seconds. Discard the funnel in your standard household rubbish.
We are asking you to administer a “swab test” of the nose and throat. There should be an instruction booklet included in the envelope with the test which we ask you to read carefully. The test can be self-administered and takes only a few minutes to complete. It may cause short-term discomfort.
If you are having trouble taking the test, please read the booklet carefully and watch the video demonstration on How to take the self-swab test. If after watching the video and reading the booklet you have questions, please contact the helpline by calling 0808 141 3062 or email UK-Covidfirstname.lastname@example.org.
If you haven’t got a booklet included with your test kit pack, please inform the helpline by calling 0808 141 3062 or email UK-Covidemail@example.com with the address or eight character serial on the letter.
Yes, you can ask someone to help you. The instructions give full details about how to do this.
It is important that the test is done by the person it was addressed to, so that we can ensure that we get accurate information on the prevalence of COVID-19. Please do not pass it on to anyone else in your household.
Unfortunately, we are not able to send you a replacement. Even if you do not think the test has worked, please still complete the online survey as it is still important that we understand how you found using it.
No. For the study results to be accurate it is essential that only those individuals who are sent the tests do them. Do not pass the test kit to anyone else, even if they feel unwell.
In the unlikely event you injure yourself or feel unwell, please seek medical attention. Use the NHS 111 online service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
Sending the tests for analysis and next steps
A free courier will come to collect the test from your home. You can book this service using the instructions on the instruction booklet you received with your test kit.
Please make sure that both the plastic tubes have a barcode label on them. The saliva sample goes into the green plastic bag and the swab test goes into the clear bag. Both bags then go into the cardboard box. Place the address label on the box.
- When the courier arrives, please provide them with your sealed return box following the government’s social distancing guidelines:
- The courier will knock on the door and then move at least 2 metres away.
- When they have moved away, open your door, place the packaged test kit outside your door, and close the door.
- The courier will then collect the package and deliver it to a test laboratory.
Please contact the helpline to let us know you have accidentally completed someone else’s test as it is important that tests are completed by the person they are sent to. You can contact the helpline on FREEPHONE 0808 141 3062 or email UK-Covidfirstname.lastname@example.org. You will still receive your results.
Please complete the tests and online survey as soon as you can. You must do them within a week of receiving them. The final date for collection is 22nd July.
You need to book the courier before completing your tests. The courier must be booked by 4.30pm the previous day to ensure they pick up the next day. If you have taken the test but have not booked the courier, please go online to book the courier as soon as possible. If they can come the next day, keep your tests in the fridge until then. The test may deteriorate and so it may not be possible to get a result, but if you can arrange a courier within a day it may still be OK. Please complete the online questionnaire to let us know when you took your swab test as it is important that we know the gap between the test being taken and the lab receiving the test kit. If you cannot get a courier within the next day or two, please dispose of your test kit.
The saliva sample will be sent to a laboratory to analyse the sample for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. This result will be compared with the result of the swab test. The lab will retain the sample to test for the presence of the virus, but no other tests will be carried out unless you consent. If you give your consent as part of the survey, then your saliva sample may be stored for further analysis, which may include genetic research. If you do not consent to this, your sample will be only be used for viral analysis.
No. The analysis being carried out on the swab test and the saliva sample for this research project will only look for the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19.
At the end of the survey we ask for your permission to keep your saliva sample for further research, which may involve genetic analysis. It is up to you whether or not you agree to this.
If you give your consent, we will keep your saliva sample and use it for further analysis beyond the virus testing.
No, we will not provide the results of the saliva test. This research is to assess how effective the saliva sample is, and therefore at this stage we will not provide this result to participants.
The swab will be analysed in a lab and you will be informed of the result within one week of your swab test being collected. Once analysed, the test will show whether the virus that causes COVID-19 was detected. This will help measure the prevalence of COVID-19 including people who do not have any symptoms.
Yes, once the test is analysed in a laboratory, we will send the swab test results back to everyone who takes part. It is important that you continue to follow the current Government advice around social distancing, regardless of what the results of your test show. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Please allow up to one week for the results to come through but this may take a little longer. If it has been longer than 7 days and you have not received your results, please telephone our FREEPHONE helpline on 0808 141 3062 or email UK-Covidemail@example.com with your address or eight character serial on the letter.
This means you may have the virus that causes COVID-19. If you get a positive test result, you and your household must self-isolate and follow the self-isolation guidelines whether or not you have symptoms. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus. If you test positive for COVID-19 we will also pass your details to NHS Test and Trace so that they can contact you. For more information on NHS Test and Trace please visit www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.
This means you may not have the virus that causes COVID-19. A negative result is not 100% conclusive and it does not mean that you can break social distancing rules. If you or anyone in your household has or develops symptoms you must follow the self-isolation guidelines even if you have a negative test result. For the current Government guidance about COVID-19, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
This means the test has not worked and it is not possible to give you a result. If you or anyone in your household has or develops symptoms you must follow the self-isolation guidelines even if you have an inconclusive test result. You must continue to follow current government guidance about COVID-19. For the current Government guidance please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
If you already have your test kit, please go on www.reactstudy.org/salivatest to complete the online survey. If you have not yet registered to receive a test kit, please go to www.reactstudy.org/salivareg to register. You will need your access code which can be found on your letter. Alternatively, we can help you complete it on the phone.
Yes, if you have received a test kit, but do not want to do the tests we are interested in hearing your views, so please do complete the survey. If you have not yet registered to receive a test kit, make sure you complete the registration survey at www.reactstudy.org/salivareg.
GDPR and Ethics
Yes. Ipsos MORI is a member of the Market Research Society. All questionnaire information will be kept confidential by Ipsos MORI, and approved Imperial College London staff and researchers. Nobody will be able to identify you in any published results. The GDPR includes a number of rights, although not all of these apply where the legal basis for processing is public task, including the right to erasure and data portability.
You have the right to request access to any personal data within the limited period that Ipsos MORI holds it, before December 2020 when it is deleted.
Providing responses to this survey is entirely voluntary and is done so with your consent. You have the right to withdraw your consent to our processing of your personal data at any time before the data is processed for reporting from 23rd July.
We must generally respond to requests in relation to your rights within one month, although there are some exceptions to this. The DHSC Privacy Notice explains your rights and how to exercise them: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/800049/Privacy_Notice_v2_.pdf.
You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) or another data protection regulator, if you have concerns on how we have processed your personal data. You can find details about how to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/ or by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ipsos MORI is a data processor, acting on behalf of DHSC and Imperial College London. They will only keep your data in a way that can identify you for as long as is necessary to support the research project and findings. By December 2020 Ipsos MORI will delete your personal contact data from their systems.
If you consent to being contacted for future research, and/or for the results of this study being linked to other health information that the NHS holds about you, Imperial College London, may keep your data for up to 20 years in order to support this research. If you have consented to data linkage, we may receive your contact details from the NHS and, if you have consented to be contacted for future studies we may use them to contact you.
When you agree to take part in a research study, the information about your health and care or remaining samples may be provided to researchers running other research studies in ICL and organisation nominated by the DHSC and in other organisations. These organisations may be universities, NHS organisations or companies involved in health and care research in this country or abroad (including outside the EEA. Identifiable data, including NHS number, will not be shared with any organisations for future research. Your information will only be used by organisations and researchers to conduct research in accordance with relevant legislation, ethics and NHS research policy requirements.
Researchers who wish to access the data from this study and/or to contact participants about future research will have to apply to a data access committee composed of at least 3 of the study investigators and at least one public representative.
We use personally-identifiable information collected in this study to conduct research to improve health, care and services.
Health and care research should serve the public interest, which means that we have to demonstrate that our research serves the interests of society as a whole. We do this by following the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.
You can stop taking part in the study at any time, without giving a reason, however once your data has been included with the rest of the study data and analysed, it is not possible to remove your specific data from the results.
This study has received formal ethical approval from the South Central - Berkshire B Research Ethics Committee. In addition, Ipsos MORI adheres to the Market Research Society code of research ethics, and the patient details provided are not used for anything other than the purpose of this study.
Ipsos MORI is contacting you on behalf of Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC). Names were chosen at random from the NHS list of patients registered with a GP in England. NHS England has shared a limited amount of your personal data so that Ipsos MORI can invite you to take part in this research. This data includes:
- Your name and address
- Your NHS number
- Your gender and day/month/year of birth
No. The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that the National Data Opt-out only applies when confidential patient information is being used for purposes other than care for the individual. Confidential patient information includes clinical data about the individual (such as any medical conditions, prescriptions or care received), and any information about the individual that has been accessed via the individual’s medical record. This survey only uses demographic data and contact details drawn from patient registration records to select and contact individuals to take part. This personal data is not classified as confidential patient information as no clinical information is used or accessed. As such, the National Data Opt-out does not apply.
No, absolutely not. Ipsos MORI has only been given your NHS number, name, address, day, month and year of birth, and gender. DHSC have not given Ipsos MORI any information about your health.
Ipsos MORI are given your NHS number so that they can identify you if you have previously opted-out from the survey to ensure they do not contact you again. Your contact details are used to contact you regarding the survey.
Information about month and year of birth and gender will be used to make sure that the anonymised survey data matches the profile of the population as closely as possible.
Ipsos MORI and Imperial College are working with supplier organisations to assist us in running this COVID-19 testing research. If you are happy for us to send you a testing kit, we will need to disclose your personal data to these supplier organisations for that purpose. These supplier organisations are:
- Formara and Adare: printing letters and despatching testing kits
- Royal Mail: distribution
- Text Local (to send results out by text)
- The Delivery Group (couriers)
These suppliers are approved and compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations.
Some online surveys collect information using 'cookies'. These are small files stored on your computer. These files are used as sparingly as possible and only for quality control, validation and, more importantly, to prevent us sending you reminders for an online survey you have already completed. It is possible for you to delete 'cookies' or to prevent their use by adjusting the browser settings on your computer.
We also automatically capture information about your operating system, display settings and browser type in order to ensure that the survey questionnaire is delivered in a form suited to the software your computer is using. We do not capture any other information from your computer.
We will also ask if you are happy for Imperial College London to link your answers and the results of your swab test to your NHS record. If you agree to this, Imperial College London may also link your survey answers to other health information that the NHS holds about you both now and in the future using your NHS number. This linkage would be done by the NHS and returned to Imperial College London.
All of your personal data used and collected for this survey will be stored by Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London in data centres and servers within the United Kingdom and EEA.
The swab test needs processing within 72 hours, so will be picked up by courier and returned to a laboratory. It is important to keep the completed test cool, so please store it in your fridge until it is collected.
The laboratories will share the results of both of the tests with Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London. The results from the swab test will be sent to you by email and/or text message, if you have provided these contact details, on the same day that we receive the information from the laboratory. If we do not have email or mobile phone contact details for you, your results will be sent by first class post.
Ipsos MORI and Imperial College London take their information security responsibilities seriously and apply various precautions to ensure your information is protected from loss, theft or misuse. Security precautions include appropriate physical security of offices and controlled and limited access to computer systems.
Ipsos MORI has regular internal and external audits of its information security controls and working practices and is accredited to the International Standard for Information Security, ISO 27001.
Similar processes are in place at Imperial College London where a database to carry out statistical analyses of the data at postcode level will be established in an ISO 27001 environment.
Imperial College London’s insurance statement
Imperial College London holds insurance policies which apply to this study. If you experience harm or injury as a result of taking part in this study, you will be eligible to claim compensation without having to prove that Imperial College is at fault. This does not affect your legal rights to seek compensation.
If you are harmed due to someone's negligence, then you may have grounds for a legal action. Regardless of this, if you wish to complain, or have any concerns about any aspect of the way you have been treated during the course of this study then you should immediately inform the Investigators on UK-Covidemail@example.com. The normal National Health Service mechanisms are also available to you. If you are still not satisfied with the response, you may contact the Imperial College, Joint Research Compliance Office.
Ipsos MORI will only retain your data in a way that can identify you for as long as is necessary to support the research project and findings. In practice, this means that once we have satisfactorily captured the data and transferred the database to Imperial College London, we will securely remove your personal, identifying data from our systems.
For this project Ipsos MORI will securely remove your personal data from our systems by December 2020.
Imperial College London will maintain its database for up to 20 years to allow it to undertake studies of possible long-term health outcomes.
If you have any questions about the research, please contact our helpline by email on UK-Covidfirstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on FREEPHONE 0808 141 3062 .
For questions about our privacy notice, our compliance with data protection laws or information we hold about you, please contact
Post: Department of Health and Social Care
1st Floor North
39 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0EU
Email: email@example.com with “COVID-19 home testing (20-046042)” in the email subject line
Post: COVID-19 home testing (20-046042)
Data Protection Officer, Compliance Department
Market and Opinion Research International Limited
3 Thomas More Square
London E1W 1YW
Imperial College London
Tel: 020 7594 3502
Post: Data Protection Officer
Imperial College London
London SW7 2BU