Serology Study

It has been difficult for researchers to fully understand the impact of the virus on our community since some people had COVID-19 but didn’t show any symptoms.  Even if residents didn’t show any symptoms, their bodies made antibodies in response to a COVID-19 infection. This study will look for antibodies in the general population's saliva to better understand the scope of the virus in Howard County.  

Sample collection for this study is complete. No further testing locations will be scheduled.

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What is a SARS‐CoV‐2 antibody test?

An antibody test, also called a serology test, typically checks for antibodies in your blood or saliva, which shows whether you might have been infected in the past with SARS‐CoV‐2, the virus that causes COVID‐19. Antibodies are proteins that your body makes in response to an infection. It typically takes 1 to 3 weeks after someone becomes infected with SARS‐CoV‐2 for their body to make antibodies. An antibody test cannot determine if you had a SARS‐CoV‐2 infection at the time your sample was collected. It can only tell you if you were infected with the virus in the past. This saliva based antibody test can tell if you were previously infected even if you have been vaccinated. This test will help us estimate how many people in the community have been infected and better understand how COVID‐19 may be spreading in the community.

Serology Information Flyer

Due to unanticipated delays in laboratory sample processing, test result notification letters will be sent 8 weeks post sample collection. Our apologies for the delay and thank you for your patience.

FAQ's
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Why is this research being done?
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COVID-19 has killed over 250 Howard County residents and infected more than 19,000 people in our community. We want to understand the effects of the disease on Howard County residents. The purpose is to understand how many people have had the disease, why some people get infected and others do not, and how it affects daily life. We also want to study transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, among you and your household members, including children and adults, and assess the risk of infection and transmission among children. Knowing this information may help us to protect Howard County residents and their household members.

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How many Howard County residents will take part?
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We expect about 3,000 Howard County residents to participate. This includes both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals and households with children.

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What will the study involve and how long will it take?
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If you are eligible for the research study and choose to participate, we will ask you to complete a short questionnaire at a convenient test site located in Howard County. A parent/legal guardian will answer survey questions for children 0–6 years old, and children 7–17 years old will answer the survey questions for themselves with assistance from a parent/legal guardian as needed. At the test site you will be provided with a test kit and instructed on how to self-collect a saliva sample. After you complete the study, the Study Facilitator will send your test kit directly to the laboratory at Johns Hopkins Medicine, where the samples will be tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. You will receive your sample results by mail within 4 to 6 weeks of providing your sample.

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Why should you participate in this study?
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You have the opportunity to be in a study to learn the impact of COVID-19 on you, your family, and members of your community. The information you provide will help us improve what we know about the ways that COVID-19 spreads between people.

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What are antibodies?
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Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infection and are specific to certain bacteria and viruses. A SARS-CoV-2 antibody test may tell you if have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past and if you have been vaccinated for COVID-19. It can take 1 to 3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies. We don’t have enough information yet to say whether someone is protected from reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 if they have antibodies to the virus. We also don’t have enough information yet to know how long antibodies remain in the body after natural infection or after vaccination.

 

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What are some ways people can encounter viruses?
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Viruses can be spread through direct physical contact with a person or animal carrying a virus, or an object that has viruses on it. Sometimes viruses can also spread through the air or through other environmental routes.

Tags
Health & Medical

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