UW Medicine is looking for people in the Tri-Cities area to participate in a statewide study intended to provide information about the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state.
Participants up to age 85 may earn up to $75, plus get free antibody testing, said Dr. Amy Person, health officer for Benton and Franklin counties.
The study by scientists at UW Medicine in Seattle and the Washington state Department of Health will determine the percentage of people in Washington who have had COVID by looking at their immune system response, as measured by the presence of antibodies in their blood.
The research also will provide a look at the burden of the disease in different groups, including in different ethnic and racial groups.
It is intended to provide a complete look at the disease by including cases in which testing for the coronavirus was not done.
“We are still learning about this virus — how it spreads and how it works,” said Dr. Keith Jerome of UW Medicine. “This may give us a better example of what community spread looks like in our area.”
Those chosen to participate will have a nose swab taken, which will check for active cases of COVID-19, and then a blood test.
They may have up to two more blood tests over time to check for antibodies that indicate a previous case of COVID-19.
Antibodies are made within a week or two of an infection and may last for at least a year or two, providing some defense against the coronavirus, according to study information.
“Scientists are still learning how long COVID-19 antibodies are present in the body after infection and whether they protect against COVID-19,” according to the study. “We hope our survey helps answer some of these questions.”
The study started collecting information in May, with invitations sent to some households. But more participants are needed.
The first step toward participation in the study is to fill out a survey. A link to it is posted under “Get Started” at thewavesurvey.org/Home/About.