University of Texas, state health agency launch COVID-19 antibody response survey

Coronavirus

HOUSTON (KXAN) — Researchers with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston are teaming up with the Texas Department of State Health Services to launch a survey to learn more about how COVID-19 spreads within Texas communities and the immune response among Texans.

The survey, called Texas CARES, will focus on coronavirus antibody response, DSHS said. It aims to pinpoint the proportion of Texans who have COVID-19 antibodies—which show a past infection and ‘presumably some degree of immune protection.’

Additionally, the survey hopes to provide more insight on how many people have been infected in Texas and how infections spread over time, according to DSHS.

Participants will be asked to complete a survey about their health and various factors that affect it. They will then visit a participating clinic to have their blood drawn for an antibody test. This sample will be for the first of up to three antibody tests that will take place months apart, DSHS said.

The team wants a diverse pool of participants to gather more comprehensive information on why some people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and if that affects their antibody response, according to DSHS.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve previously tested positive or negative for COVID-19—or haven’t been tested at all. Everyone is eligible to enroll, DSHS said.

The team aims to enroll around 100,000 participants, making it one of the largest antibody surveys in the nation. The survey will focus on these groups:

  • Children 5 to 17 years old
  • Teachers and education professionals
  • Employees within retail, business, or service industries
  • Patients and staff at community clinics

DSHS partnered with UTHealth to develop and fund the survey.

“We’ve heard from leaders across Texas really wanting to know how COVID is impacting their community in particular, and so by having this many tests being available to us and being able to test this many people, we can give a much more granular look at the experiences that people are having across Texas,” said DSHS Infectious Disease Medical Officer DSHS Dr. Jennifer Shuford.

For more information or to sign up for Texas CARES, you can visit the Texas CARES website or email TexasCARES@uth.tmc.edu.

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