The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is seeking participants for a statewide seroprevalance study on the human antibody response to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Researchers are asking physicians to encourage patients to participate in the study, called Texas Coronavirus Antibody Response Survey, or Texas CARES.
“Individuals who have tested positive, negative, or have never been tested for COVID-19 at all are welcome to participate,” researchers said.
The study is designed to develop a better understanding of the virus and how it is affected by antibodies, including:
- How many people in Texas have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19;
- How long COVID-19 antibodies last in humans; and
- The characteristics of people who develop COVID-19 antibodies as well as those who never develop antibodies.
“We currently know very little about how COVID-19 antibodies work,” researchers said. “People with antibodies to COVID-19 may have an immune response to a future infection, but we don’t have enough evidence to support that idea. We do not know if the antibodies will provide someone with any immunity, or even partial protection, from getting infected again. Even if antibodies do provide immunity, we don’t know the amount of antibodies needed for protection, how long that protection might last, or if people with antibodies can still infect others.”
Researchers are looking specifically for participants between 5 and 17 years old; teachers and education professionals; retail, business, or service sector employees; and community clinic patients.
“We believe these specific populations best represent the Texas population, and will reflect the geographic and cultural diversity of the state,” researchers said. “This will allow us to better understand COVID-19 antibodies and how they impact Texans across different age groups and communities.”
Texas CARES participants will receive three free antibody tests at local labs between September 2020 and July 2021 and will be asked to complete three online surveys. Participants will receive test results “in a confidential and timely manner,” researchers said.
As of Oct. 5, more than 420,000 COVID-19 antibody tests have been administered in Texas, according to the Department of State Health Services.
More information, including details about how to participate, can be found on the UTHealth website.
UTHealth also has created a poster – available in English and Spanish – that provides more information on the study that you can print out and post in your practice, or post to your social media accounts.
As always, find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.