MLB teams step to the plate for large-scale coronavirus antibody study

MLB teams step to the plate for large-scale coronavirus antibody study

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Story Originally Published on MarketWatch.com (4/14/20)

Major League Baseball will participate in a large-scale COVID-19 antibody study in an effort to find out how many people may have had the coronavirus.

The Athletic reported Tuesday that the study will involve 10,000 volunteers from 27 of the league’s 30 teams, including players, their families, team staff and stadium workers. That allows a broad spectrum of test subjects, of different ages and genders and socioeconomic status, in most of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

The study is not intended to track active infections or find a vaccine, but rather to identify how many people have been exposed to COVID-19, and how many of whom may not have known they had it. By finding out how many people have been exposed to the virus, public health officials can gain better insight as to how to reopen the nation’s economy.

“This will be the first time we will be able to see how truly prevalent COVID-19 has spread throughout the United States,” Stanford University professor medicine Jay Bhattacharya told The Athletic. “And instead of it taking years to pull together a study of this scope, especially with stay-at-home orders, MLB has helped us turn it around in a matter of weeks.”

Study participants have reportedly already started testing themselves at home, using finger-pricks to test their blood. Results will be collected by the end of the week, and the study could be published in about two weeks.

“Once MLB presented the opportunity to participate, we immediately joined the study,” one Oakland A’s official told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It seemed like a great way to contribute in a small way to the science that is hopefully going to lead us out of this quarantine at some point.”

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