Coronavirus: Boston mayor announces antibody testing for 1,000 residents

Approximately 1,000 Boston residents will be invited to participate in a study to evaluate community exposure to COVID-19 through antibody testing, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Sunday. Walsh made the announcement with Peter Slavin, President of Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Public Health Commission, WFXT reported.

Residents living in East Boston, Roslindale and within the boundaries of ZIP codes 02121 and 02125 in Dorchester will be the focus of the samples, Walsh’s news release said.

“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," Walsh said. "I want to thank MGH for being an excellent partner on this effort that we hope will be a step forward toward the path to recovery.”

For the study, MGH will collect data from 1,000 asymptomatic Boston residents this week by testing for both the COVID-19 virus and the COVID-19 antibodies, WFXT reported.

To test for COVID-19, they swab the nose. To test for antibodies, they draw blood through a finger prick to detect whether blood has antibodies present when the body is responding to an infection, such as coronavirus.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that many people who have been infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, but we don’t yet know how prevalent the disease is in our city, in our communities and in our society," Slavin said.

Slavin added that testing will provide vital clues into the spread of the virus and help medical professionals develop strategies to slow down or stop COVID-19.

Participation is voluntary to residents contacted. Testing is expected to be completed by May 1 and summary data of compiled results will be made public, although no personal information will be shared.

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