As the United States continues to investigate the pervasiveness of the coronavirus in the country the federal health officials are now looking for 10,000 volunteers nationwide for an at-home COVID-19 antibody test.
Presently, there are already more than 550,000 people in the US that have been tested positive for COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health said that to figure the extent of the spread of the coronavirus researchers are turning to antibody testing especially to those will milder symptoms and asymptomatic cases.
They also aim to identify populations and communities that have been most impacted by the pandemic.
The researchers said that the "serosurvey" or blood samples from up to 10,000 volunteers will determine the number of adults without an official diagnosis but have been infected by the virus.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, "this study will give us a clearer picture of the true magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States by telling us how many people in different communities have been infected without knowing it because they had a very mild, undocumented illness or did not access testing while they were sick."
NIAID researchers and centers within NIH are conducting the study.
Fauci, who is a member of the President's coronavirus task force said that the blood taken from the participants will be tested for the presence of two types of antibodies namely, the anti-SARS-CoV-2 S protein IgG and IgM.
These two types of antibodies determine if one person has already been infected and recovered from the highly contagious respiratory illness.
Since the majority of the testing conducted in the United States thus far is used for identifying active infections and cannot determine people who previously contracted the disease, the importance of this new research is crucial.
Study lead and NIAID's Laboratory of Infectious Diseases Clinical Studies Unit, Dr. Matthew J. Memoli, said that by analyzing a person's blood, it is easier to determine if that person has encountered SARS-CoV-2 previously since antibody tests look back to the immune system for evidence that the virus was once present.
Read: UK Drug Firm Will Have a Reliable Coronavirus Antibody Test Within Three Weeks!
More antibody testing in the US
Aside from the federal agency performing such analysis, scientists from Stanford Medicine in California also launched an antibody testing last week. They are investigating a possible viral surge in California back in February, according to reports from the Los Angeles Times.
Others also believe that the virus could have been in California in December. Although this was not recognized due to the flu season, according to Dr. Jeff Smith, Santa Clara County's chief executive.
Similarly, USC's Price School of Public Policy together with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is also conducting the research on antibodies.
With these, it could provide an insight into how widespread has the coronavirus come to the Golden State as other people believe that the it could have been in the country earlier than initially thought.
How to join?
Interested volunteers may have their blood drawn at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland or they can do it at home using an in-home blood collection that the Torrance-based medical device firm Neoteryx will provide.
You may contact the agency via email at email@example.com. For questions-and-answers guide, click here.