MONDAY, April 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Large-scale studies of tests to check for antibodies to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) are underway in California. The findings from this research could help the United States develop strategies to get people back to work and restart the economy.
A study in Los Angeles County is being conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy and the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, NBC News reported. The first set of tests in that study were conducted on 900 people Friday and Saturday at six drive-thru locations and will continue every two weeks for an undetermined length of time.
USC is also teaming with Stanford University and UCLA on a similar study in Santa Clara County, where 3,000 people were tested, and those findings should be published soon, Neeraj Sood, Ph.D., vice dean of research at the Price School, told NBC News. Public health officials have been providing daily updates about numbers of cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and tests, but those figures could be "the tip of the iceberg," according to Sood.
"We've just been testing the sick. So, we truly don't know the true extent of the bulk of the population that might have covered," Sood told NBC News. "There might be many people in the population that were asymptomatic and they survived it. So, having those people in the calculation will help us truly figure out how deadly this epidemic is."
Los Angeles County has had more than 9,000 reported COVID-19 cases and nearly 300 deaths. Its population of 10 million is larger than those of more than 40 states, so the county could provide important answers about COVID-19 antibodies, NBC News reported.