AUSTIN (KXAN) – Researchers at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center and the Texas Department of Health Services found a slight increase in the number of people participating in the antibody survey Texas Cares.
The program launched a year ago and surveyed thousands of Texans to learn more about how COVID-19 is spreading in their Texan communities.
âInitially, it was out of sheer curiosity to see if I had had COVID in the past,â said Leah Ann Tibbitts.
Tibbitts recently discovered the Texas Cares investigation. She got her results within 24 hours and found out that she had not had COVID-19 in the past, based on the results.
âIn my mind, anything I can do to help research against COVID is a good thing,â Tibbitts said.
Texans from Panhandle to Rio Grand Valley are eligible to participate in antibody testing.
People are asked to commit to three antibody tests over the course of six months. These are each blood tests. Participants will choose a clinical pathology lab site to have blood drawn for the three antibody tests.
“We are able to examine the prevalence of people who have natural antibodies, as well as antibodies induced by the COVID vaccine,” said Dr Harold Kohl of UT Health School of Public Health.
Dr Harold Kohl and his team found that around 30% of those surveyed had evidence of COVID-19 antibodies. In school-aged children, 30% show signs of having natural antibodies. This survey group includes children aged 5 to high school students.
“It is obviously troublesome when 65 to 70% of the younger population does not have antibody immunity and the younger ones cannot get vaccinated,” said Dr Kohl.
Delta’s surge is a double-edged sword according to Kohl, but as far as the Texas Cares Survey goes, more and more people are interested in whether they have the antibodies.
âFor us, this is a public health issue,â Tibbitts said. âIf we can do our part, then we definitely will. “
Nearly 20,000 people have been signed up for a baseline assessment, according to researchers from the Texas Cares Survey. Several thousand completed all three assessments.
To sign up for the Texas Cares survey, you can follow this link.