New UW study will track prevalence of COVID-19 in Washington state

SEATTLE — The University of Washington announced Tuesday that it is launching a study to determine the percentage of people across Washington state who have been infected by COVID-19.

UW Medicine is working with the Washington State Department of Health and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

According to officials, UW Medicine’s Virology Laboratory will conduct the study in close partnership with state and local public health agencies, sampling across rural and urban populations throughout the state and within racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse communities.

“Data is a crucial tool in helping us fight this pandemic and safely reopening our economy,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This study and partnership will provide vital insights about the trajectory of COVID-19 in Washington, informing our response and allowing us to better protect Washingtonians.”

UW said 7,000 participants will receive a diagnostic COVID-19 test, followed by three antibody tests over the course of eight months.

The results of the first antibody tests will indicate the baseline prevalence of infection to date. In addition to infection rates, the study will examine how long COVID-19 antibodies persist.

According to the university, this will inform the Department of Health’s assessments and safety guidelines to control COVID-19 infections in communities across the state.

“As one of the first in the country to develop a COVID-19 test, UW Medicine has invested millions of dollars to build significant capacity for both COVID-19 and antibody testing at scale,” said Dr. Keith Jerome, head of the Virology Division at UW Medicine