Helping Quantify Coronavirus Outbreak From Your Home
A new study has begun recruiting participants at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland to determine how many adults in the USA without a confirmed history of infection with SARS-CoV-2, have antibodies to the virus.
The presence of antibodies in the blood indicates a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The results from this study will illuminate the extent to which this novel coronavirus has spread and offer insights into which communities are most affected.
In this “serosurvey” announced on April 10, 2020, researchers will collect and analyze blood samples from as many as 10,000 volunteers to provide critical data for epidemiological models.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., said in a media statement, “These crucial data will help us measure the impact of our public health efforts now and guide our COVID-19 response moving forward.”
To date, reporting of U.S. cases of COVID-19 has mostly relied on molecular tests that determine the presence of the virus in a person’s airways using a noninvasive cotton swab.
While these cotton swab-based tests rapidly and effectively identify active infection, they do not determine whether a person was previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered.
“An antibody test is looking back into the immune system’s history with a rearview mirror,” said Matthew J. Memoli, M.D., M.S., principal investigator of the study.
“By analyzing an individual’s blood, we can determine if that person has encountered SARS-CoV-2 previously.”
Investigators will analyze blood samples for two types of antibodies, anti-SARS-CoV-2 S protein IgG and IgM, using an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).
In blood samples found to contain antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, researchers may perform additional tests to evaluate the volunteers’ immune responses to the virus.
These data may provide insight as to why these cases were less severe than those that lead to hospitalization.
Healthy volunteers over the age of 18 from anywhere in the United States can participate and will be asked to consent to enrollment over the telephone. Individuals with a confirmed history of COVID-19 or current symptoms consistent with COVID-19 disease are not eligible to participate.
Kaitlyn Sadtler, Ph.D., study lead for laboratory testing said, “With a small finger-prick, volunteers can help scientists fight COVID-19 from their homes.”
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Additional information on the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, can be found here.
The study will be conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, with additional support from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Cancer Institute are parts of the NIH.
SARS-CoV-2 outbreak news published by Coronavirus Today.