UC Irvine researchers to conduct antibody testing for Orange County

A new antibody test that researchers say may be the most comprehensive in California is coming to Orange County.
IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- A new antibody test that researchers say may be the most comprehensive in California is coming to Orange County.

Researchers from UC Irvine plan to examine the blood of 5,000 people for antibodies to the coronavirus.

Unlike similar testing in Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties, researchers say this test involves many more people.

There will be eight to 10 drive-through sites. A pinprick will be used on county residents picked for the study and samples will be sent to UCI to be analyzed.

The study seeks to find out how widespread COVID-19 is in the county and health officials plan to use the data to guide them with public health measures.

Results will also be used to better identify at-risk populations.

"What we've seen so far is that low-income and minority communities are experiencing the most severe symptoms and death rates," Bernadette Boden-Albala, director of UCI's Program in Public Health, said in a statement. "It's tragic, and we have to know why this is happening and what we can do to prevent it. By partnering across Orange County, from Irvine and Newport Beach to Santa Ana and Anaheim, we can do this."

The results from the blood samples will be compared to a subset of 200 people who tested positive for COVID-19.

"This smaller cohort will be tested every two weeks for four months so that researchers can see how immune response changes over time and what groups are most at risk," a news release from the university said.

The release also said researchers hope to start testing in the next few weeks and have an initial report issued this summer and another report released in the fall.

UCI is partnering with the Orange County Health Care Agency for the study.
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