A new risk tool could be used to identify those most at threat from Covid-19, so GPs can give patients tailored advice, health officials have said. 

Scientists at Oxford University are working on a clinical risk prediction model, which aims to give individuals more precise information about the likely impact of the disease on them, instead of a blanket approach. 

Health officials said the plans aimed to allow “very individualised discussions” between patients and their doctors, in the event of future outbreaks, particularly as winter approaches. 

The scheme aims to replace the approach seen so far – with everyone told to stay home during lockdown, and 2.2 million told to be “fully shielded,” with a more nuanced strategy. 

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said the risk profiles would also help individuals to have conversations with their employers, if they needed to take steps to shield themselves if risks increased. 

She told the Downing Street conference that while she hoped to see a “sustained period of very low infection” ahead, she was more concerned about what would happen in winter, particularly if social distancing was not continued. 

But she said the new tool, being developed by scientists, would help ensure that individuals were given more precise information about their own level of risk, helping to inform decisions about how to live their lives.

She said the new tool would allow “a very individualised discussion with your GP or with your specialist” which would take account of underlying health conditions, and other attributes, such as race or age, which increase mortality rates from Covid. 

“If you are of South Asian background, and are a young footballer your risk would be very very low indeed. But if you are elderly, if you have other conditions, obesity, diabetes, what have you … all of these things need to be factored together for your own individual assessment,” she said. 

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