Blaine County begins studying and testing antibodies

Posted at 2:41 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 10:07:19-04

KETCHUM, Idaho — Several organizations in Blaine County are conducting a study, including antibody testing, for residents. The Ketchum Fire Department and Blaine County Ambulance District partnered with Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for the study.

A random sample of 400 Blaine County residents will be used in the study. It will help determine the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The hope is to determine how many asymptomatic cases there are in the county.

Officials want to emphasize this is a study and not a medical diagnosis, vaccine or guarantee of immunity to the virus.

At first, the study will analyze the total number of novel coronavirus cases in the sample group and compare to the number of cases tested. The information will help the fight against COVID-19 and help scientists slow or stop the disease. It will also help determine if antibody presence grants immunity.

Blaine County residents wishing to participate in the study, including the testing, may register here. Residents will be screened and chosen for the study based on demographic criteria established. Eventually, the study will provide information to the community on when it is safe to resume normal activity.

“We are grateful for the efforts led by Ketchum Fire Chief Bill McLaughlin and Blaine County EMS Director Terry O’Connor to spearhead this study,” said Mayor Neil Bradshaw. “A keen interest from the partnering organizations and the perseverance of our Chief and EMS Director kept the ball rolling and made the testing a reality for our community.”

Further analysis of the study will help to:

  • Determine whether there are indicators for predicting a mild or severe reaction to COVID-19
  • Determine the transmissibility of the virus
  • Predict the duration of a COVID-19 outbreak and whether herd immunity can be reached in a community
  • Develop vaccines for COVID-19
  • Determine if there is a correlation between certain classes of blood pressure medication and severity of illness

“I am proud of the collaboration between Blaine County and our cities,” said Blaine County Commissioner Jacob Greenberg. “Not only will this testing in the County help the study, it is a chance for the volunteers to help friends, relatives, neighbors and ultimately, all of humanity.”