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MLB Will Participate In A Study Aimed At Learning More About The Size Of The Pandemic

One major question that exists regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is how many people have actually been impacted by the virus. Whether it be individuals who fell ill but never got their case confirmed or were asymptomatic carriers, scientists are still trying their best to get as much information as possible to map out the best possible plan for combatting this novel coronavirus.

Major League Baseball wants to play a role in helping this question get answered. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the league will participate in a study Stanford University, USC, and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory will run in the coming days. As Passan explained, these researchers are looking for a pair of antibodies that form after someone has COVID-19 in their system — one is produced early on in the process of combatting the virus, while the other stays in a person’s body after they have recovered.

Those involved with the study stressed that this is not happening as part of a plan to fast-track MLB’s hopes of playing game as soon as possible. Via ESPN:

The goal of the study is to get a better sense of the virus’ true infection rate by utilizing a nationwide sample. The speed with which MLB coordinated logistics and ensured participation from a wide range of people, including players, front-office staff, concession workers and others, made it the right choice for the study, according to doctors running it.

An important thing to note here is that these — which are done via a finger prick and take a sample of a person’s blood — are different from the ones needed to diagnose the virus. Molly Knight of The Athletic reported that three unspecified teams will not participate in the study, while one of the doctors at the helm of all this praised MLB for its willingness to hop on board and speed up a process that would normally take a long, long time.

“This will be the first time we will be able to see how truly prevalent COVID-19 has spread throughout the United States,” Dr. Jar Bhattacharya said. “And instead of it taking years to pull together a study of this scope, especially with stay-at-home orders, MLB has helped us turn it around in a matter of weeks.”

This is not the only similar study occurring to try and get some insight into the scope of the virus, as the National Institute of Health announced its desire to find 10,000 volunteers to get a sense of how many Americans have built up antibodies to COVID-19. As for when games can resume, that is still a big unknown, as there has been no update on whether or not MLB will be able to move forward with its proposed plan for a bubble league in Arizona.