The District of Columbia has tested over 13,700 people for coronavirus antibodies in their blood and less than six percent (809) turned out to have them, according to a Washington Post report.
The blood samples were collected from the public and health-care employees by DC’s public health lab and other labs in a month.
Antibodies are molecules created by the immune system to fight infection and protect the body against the same disease in the future. Individuals with coronavirus antibodies in their blood are thought to have been exposed to COVID-19 and managed to survive it.
Researchers have been using antibodies obtained from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in various studies to develop vaccines and treatment.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not certain whether testing positive for antibodies guarantees a person’s immunity against coronavirus.
DC’s antibody testing program will continue at three sites for one more month.
The DC government is planning to carry out a citywide survey to understand the spread of coronavirus antibodies. DC Health will be teaming up with the CDC for the study.
According to LaQuandra Nesbitt, the director of DC’s Department of Health, the city is planning to randomly select 850 households and offer free antibody testing to everyone in each household before August 15. People who take part in the initiative will be transported to the testing site for free and receive a $25 Visa gift card.
The city’s third free antibody testing site recently opened at the Hillcrest Recreation Center in Southeast.
More than 11,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the District, with at least 574 losing their lives.