UAB part of new study to determine number of undetected COVID-19 cases

Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 6:18 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Researchers at UAB are now part of a new study to figure out just how many people in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19 without even knowing it.

With Thursday being the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in Alabama since the pandemic began, it’s really eye-opening to know that there could be a large number of people who have or have had the virus and just don’t know it.

This study’s goal is to find out where the virus has spread undetected, and which populations are most at risk.

Ten-thousand adult volunteers are participating from across the country.

They all have to confirm they’ve never been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Participants then send a blood sample, which goes to the National Institutes of Health.

Researches will look for antibodies, which could indicate someone has had the virus.

Dr. Robert Kimberly, the study’s principal investigator and director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at UAB, said this study will help to find out where we go from here."So that we can plan how do we open up schools, how do we open up businesses, how do we come back together again as a community? And then as vaccines are developed, how do we develop our dissemination strategy for vaccination," Dr. Kimberly said. The study is led by the NIH, UAB, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Kimberly said the goal is to have a better idea of the number of people who have been infected and gone undetected by early fall.

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