The Trump administration is expanding a Covid-19 antibody study in an effort to create the first large-scale estimate of how many Americans have already had the disease.
The survey would look at blood donors from 55 sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, according to the General Services Administration website. Vitalant Research Institute and three partner blood collection centers are conducting the study for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vitalant Research has already been collecting and testing serum from 1,000 blood donations monthly from six metropolitan sites. The CDC awarded it a contract in May to extend that survey to 25 geographically diverse areas.
Vitalant’s latest contract, posted on Monday, would expand the testing to sites around the whole country.
This type of survey tests a person’s blood to see if they have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The survey uses the percentage of people who have those antibodies to extrapolate to a larger population.
Previous studies in specific geographic regions have found 13.9% of New York state residents had antibodies; 4% in Santa Clara County, Calif.; and 5% in Los Angeles County.