NIH looking for volunteers for COVID-19 antibody test

dults without prior positive COVID-19 tests and without symptoms are being sought by a department within the National Institute of Health to research the impacts of antibodies on the COVID-19 disease.

The National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is looking for volunteers to help “find the number of people with detectable antibodies to SARS-COV2 from a sampling of adults who have no known exposure or clinical illness.”


The study, titled “SARS-COV2 Pandemic Serosurvey and Blood Sampling” is looking for 1,000 adults ages 18 and older without a confirmed COVID19 infection or current symptoms consistent with COVID19.


“investigators are collecting blood samples from volunteers to determine how COVID-19 spreads through a population. No medical intervention is being tested to prevent or treat COVID-19 in this study,” study documentation states. “Results will be reported to federal public health authorities on a rolling basis to support epidemiological modeling efforts and inform public health decision making. When results are reported, they will be released as a data summary noting basic demographic information. The identities of the volunteers will remain private.”


The blood samples from participants will be tested by investigators for antibodies the body produces to fight off infection.


Scientists have theorized that the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a person’s blood means they are fully protected from COVID-19.


“Based on what is known about similar viruses, this protection is likely; however, more research is needed,” states study officials. “In fact, that is one research question this study may help answer.”


"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," said Anthony S. Fauci, Director of NIAID and a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force.


Participants will give a blood sample that can be done via a home collection method, or at a NIH Clinical Center.


“Researchers have considerable experience using these at-home blood collection kits to track the spread of other infectious diseases like influenza, and this method is safe, effective and easy-to-use,” Kaitlyn Sadtler, Ph.D., study lead for laboratory testing and chief of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering’s section for Immunoengineering, said in a news release. “With a small finger-pick, volunteers can help scientists fight COVID-19 from their homes.”


Test results will be made available to study participants, but it will not be immediate.


“Volunteers should not expect a rapid turnaround of their blood test results, as investigators will provide this information only after weeks or months of analysis to confirm the test’s accuracy,” states study documentation. “After this period, volunteers may be provided with their personal test results upon request to the study team.”


As of yesterday, approximately 100 people have enrolled in the study.


Although no mention of payment is made on the official study webpage, an article in Business Insider states that “Participants are paid either $60 or $70, depending on location.” (NOTE: ConnectLocal was not able to confirm this payment via any other source than Business Insider.)

Those interested in participating in the study are asked to send an email (clinicalstudiesunit@nih.gov) expressing their interest and including a phone number. Response to emails may take two or more weeks.


The study is being funded and conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) with additional support from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), all parts of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The study will be led by principal investigator Matthew J. Memoli, M.D., M.S., director of NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases Clinical Studies Unit.


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