BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced on Sunday that the city is partnering with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Public Health Commission on a study that will allow about 1,000 people to participate in coronavirus antibody testing.
The sampling will focus on residents in East Boston, Roslindale, and people who live in the boundaries of the 02121 and 02125 zip codes in Dorchester. The organizers of the study have already begun reaching out to residents in the area who will be eligible to participate.
“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,” Walsh said in a statement. “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. I want to thank MGH for being an excellent partner on this effort that we hope will be a step forward towards the path to recovery.”
Mass General will collect data from 1,000 Boston residents who are asymptomatic. They will be tested for coronavirus and coronavirus antibodies.
The coronavirus test is done with a swap, while antibodies are tested through a finger prick. Anyone who tests positive for the virus or antibodies will be given guidance from health officials on how to care for themselves and those around them.
“The importance is number one to provide some useful health information to those 1,000 city residents but also to get a sense as to what the prevalence of the disease is within the community, how many people are asymptomatic and yet are carrying the virus and how many people seem to show evidence of developing an antibody response, immune response to the virus,” said Massachusetts General Hospital President Dr. Peter Slavin.
Participation in the study is voluntary and available on a first come, first serve basis. The tests are expected to be completed by May 1, and a results summary will be made publicly available. No personal information of people who participate will be shared.
“When we did these tests in Chelsea about almost half of the people who were positive for the antibody test had no recollection of any symptoms,” said Slavin.