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Bioscience-Medicine

COVID-19 Prevalence Study Receives $500,000 In Funding From City Of Dallas

The Dallas City Council has approved $500,000 to spend on an ongoing COVID-19 prevalence study by UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The study is assessing how widely spread the coronavirus is in North Texas and why some communities are harder-hit than others.

“We have some preliminary data that suggests about 4.5% to 5% of Dallas County has antibodies to COVID, suggesting prior exposure,” said Dr. Amit Singal, who’s leading the study.

During a city council meeting on Wednesday, Singal pointed out that COVID-19 infections in North Texas are underestimated because there isn't enough testing and many people are asymptomatic.

The study will include two separate tests, one for the virus and one for the antibodies, which stops the virus from getting inside the body.

“With this type of testing we are going to know more and more about how it has affected the city of Dallas,” said council member Omar Narvaez, who represents District 6.

“My opinion is that if the city of Dallas is participating, that the entire city of Dallas should be eligible to participate in this.”

Narvaez raised the concern that some zip codes within the city of Dallas are in counties outside of Dallas County. He wants to make sure the tests are available to all counties within the city of Dallas, including Collin and Denton.

The original study was open to anyone who lives in Dallas or Tarrant County, but as of Nov. 7, it was expanded to include Collin County zip codes 75252 and 75287. Those who wish to participate can register online.

Researchers are looking for residents to get involved. They fear that low registration numbers are because people are afraid to learn if they’ve had the virus. They hope to test 44,000 people to learn more about how to stop the spread of the virus.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @_martinez_ale.

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Copyright 2020 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.