FGCU granted $450,000 for COVID-19 antibody study

Study may help unlock questions of immunity
Posted at 12:22 AM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 00:26:23-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla — Florida Gulf Coast University set to start a COVID-19 antibody study.

Lee County commissioners granted up to $450,000 to the university in hopes of gaining a wider understanding of the true effects of COVID-19 within our community.

“The big picture is identifying a greater generalization of asymptomatic individuals in Lee County, ” said Krista Casazza, FGCU Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship.

Researchers will collect COVID-19 antibody tests and inflammatory markers from a cross-section of the Lee County population.

“We want to evaluate what is the prevalence, and perhaps if there is some sort of herd immunity, ” said Casazza.

In the event that there is a resurgence of cases during flu season, County Commissioner Brian Hamman says they will use data collected to best prepare.

“If we can know how many infections we had in Lee County and the actual hospitalization rates, and unfortunately the mortality rates then we can better plan as we go into the fall, ” said Hamman.

Lee County promising FGCU nearly half a million in Federal Care funding for supplies, travel, and analytical costs.

“The county is really putting in a lot of resources for marketing, and for being able to get the people to where we need to get them, ” said Krista Casazza.

In order for accurate findings, the study must sample a population representative to all of Lee County
“What we are shooting for is 4,000 random samples that mirror the demographics of the greater community, ” said Commissioner Hamman.

"We want to do age, race, sex, gender, but also in social-economic status in those that may or may not have access to resources, transportation, and healthcare, " KRISTA CASAZZA

Researchers are expected to start in early July and finish in the fall.

Part two of this study examines the long term effects of COVID-19 in first responders.