BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Starting today, random Bostonians will be invited to participate in a study to evaluate community exposure to COVID-19 through antibody testing.
According to Mayor Marty Walsh's office, the sampling is an effort between the city, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Public Health Commission. The sample of residents will focus on those in East Boston, Roslindale, and within the boundaries of zip codes 02121 and 02125 in Dorchester.
"It is our hope that by conducting this testing, we as a collective City will get a better understanding of the true prevalence of COVID-19 in our community," said Mayor Walsh. "The more we can expand our testing, the more we can learn how to use our medical resources more efficiently, and how we need to focus our current efforts to contain the virus."
As part of the study, Massachusetts General Hospital will collect data from 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents over the course of the coming week. For those who agree to participate in the study, MGH will administer tests for both the coronavirus and the virus' antibodies.
The tests for virus will be done by a nose swab, and the antibody testing will be done by a finger-prick blood test. By detecting whether a participant's blood has antibodies, which are present when the body is responding to an infection like COVID-19, researchers can understand how many people may have already had the virus.
According to the Mayor's office, any resident who tests positive for the COVID-19 virus or the COVID-19 antibodies will be provided with clear guidance and information on how to care for themselves and those around them.
Mayor Walsh thanked MGH for partnering with the city on the effort to test residents for coronavirus antibodies. "We hope will be a step forward towards the path to recovery," said Walsh.
Participation in the study is entirely voluntary for residents who have been contacted, is available to them on a first come, first serve basis up to 1,000 residents, and residents will not be charged for testing. Testing for this study is expected to be completed by May 1, and summary data of the the compiled results will be made publicly available.
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