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National Institutes of Health (NIH) is starting a study of blood antibodies to SARS-COV-2 and they are recruiting 10,000 people to do at-home collections and virtual clinic visits: NIH News Release

2020-04-13

Coronavirus by Engin Akyurt via pixabay.com (open access)

NIH announced on Friday that they are starting a clinical study and recruiting patients to determine the prevalence (overall number of people positive now) of blood antibodies to SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  They plan to recruit 10,000 people to participate in the study.  They will conduct virtual (over the phone or Skype) clinic visits and send participants an at-home blood collection kit with a questionnaire.  The micro-collection kit has been well studied, and NIH is confident that it will allow them to obtain blood samples from a finger-stick.  These will be adequate to obtain both IgG (chronic) and IgM (acute) antibodies (blood proteins that fight infections).

I am excited about this study, in part because an email address was provided for people who want to participate.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have an hypothesis that I may have had an inapparent infection with the virus, contracted from my wife, who is still practicing as a PA.  She works in a community clinic in a rural town outside of Fresno.  In mid- to late-February, one of the MAs at the clinic came down with a cough.  It turns out that her husband works “out of town” in the Bay Area, one of the local epicenters of infection.  The whole clinic staff came down with similar, mild upper respiratory infections (colds or mild flu) and were mostly recovered by mid-March.  This was before the state was locked down and before the virus was anything but a gleam in my eye.

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