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More in Orange County infected with COVID-19 than previously thought, says UC Irvine study

By Brian Thomas –

Nearly 12 percent of those tested for COVID-19 antibodies in a recent representative sample of nearly 3,000 Orange County residents, showed they did have COVID-19 antibodies, a much higher percentage than the two percent previously estimated, according to UC Irvine researchers.

And of those tested in the study, the majority of participants with antibodies were from Latino (17 percent) and low-income (15 percent) neighborhoods. The testing was done in partnership with the OC Health Care Agency. The actOC project was led by UCI researchers.

According to the report, “Clinic-based estimates of SARS-CoV-2 may considerably underestimate the total number of infections.” The report stated, “Public health surveillance efforts and metrics are therefore hampered by underreporting.”

Study participants received a pinprick blood test that looked for antibodies related to a range of different respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Using technology developed by UCI, researchers were able to isolate the COVID-19 antibodies, unlike in other tests that are unable to identify COVID-19 from other coronavirus-related antibodies.

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