Cape Girardeau antibody testing underway

Antibody study underway

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Close to four thousand people signed up to be a part of the antibody study in Cape Girardeau County according to health officials.

“Pretty easy, and I’m terrified of needles. So if I can do it, anybody can,” said Jessica Belanger, a participant in the antibody study.

Belanger got her blood drawn for the test on May 11th.

“Went in, signed up, sat down. Took a blood sample out of my arm, and that was it,” she said.

On May 13th, her results came back negative. She said that’s not what she expected.

“I was so, so sick in late January. I was convinced that I had it. My husband and I would go back and forth, because he did not think I had it,” she said.

Belanger’s one of 2,100 people selected for the study from the almost 4,000 applicants.

“It makes me thankful that we have a public that is willing to participate and a public that is concerned about not only their own health but helping to protect the others in the county,” said Jane Wernsman, Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center Director.

This study will help health officials find out the prevalence of COVID-19 in the county.

"It will also help us to develop down the road, policies and or make guidelines on starting other functions back up again,' said Wernsman.

Belanger said she’s happy the county’s doing this research.

“If I did have the antibodies and they did need the antibodies to maybe develop a vaccine or for further study, I would have been happy to provide that,” she said.

“We have had individuals who’ve said if I do test positive, I would like to be able to donate blood, plasma, to help those individuals who are acutely ill with the virus. So I think a lot of positive things will be coming out of this study," said Wernsman.

Those chosen for the study have through May 16th to get their blood drawn. Wernsman expects to have preliminary results at least one week after that testing window closes.

There’s a second part to this study. In 8 to 12 weeks, the same participants will get their blood drawn a second time to see if there’s any change in their results.

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