Biotech company seeks LA residents for new COVID-19 study

“There’s a treasure trove of information in the immune systems of people living in LA County,” says Dr. Lance Baldo, Chief Medical Officer at Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies.

Los Angeles, the most populous county in the country, also the hardest hit by the Coronavirus in California, with more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases recorded by the end of May, could hold the key to conquering the deadly virus. That’s the theory behind a new study called ImmuneRACE.

Dr. Baldo is the Chief Medical Officer leading it.

“Everyone who has been affected by COVID-19, their body has a story to tell and the only way we can advance science is with people willing to collaborate with us,” says Dr. Baldo.

Dr. Baldo’s team at Adaptive Biotechnologies, in partnership with Microsoft, is recruiting one thousand people, between the ages of 18-89, who either have COVID-19, have recovered from it, or have been exposed to it.

The expectation of participants: one to four blood draws in the comfort of their own home. ImmuneRACE will send a lab technician. Each blood draw pays fifty dollars.

While ImmuneRACE is recruiting from 24 major U.S. cities, Dr. Baldo says recruits from Los Angeles are vital. 

“The other wonderful thing about LA County is the amazing genetic and ethnic diversity,” says Dr. Baldo, “This information is going to inform how to develop a better test for COVID-19.”

The team will study the T-cells of the impacted immune systems. T-cells are the first to respond to the virus.  If their hypothesis holds true, Dr. Baldo says they’ll be able to develop a test that could detect COVID-19 in people who don’t show symptoms.

“This could have applications in patients that are asymptomatic and maybe not shedding virus. It could also have applications in trying to figure out who is going to have a better or worse response to SARS-CoV-2,” says Dr. Baldo.

And if doctors can better diagnose and treat COVID-19, Dr. Baldo says we can better contain and manage the disease to help safely reopen society with the hope of saving countless lives.

If you’ve been impacted by COVID-19 and would like to take part, log onto http://www.IMMUNERACE.COM.