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In Focus: Howard County partners with Johns Hopkins University to better understand Covid-19

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Posted at 5:45 AM, Sep 16, 2021

Scientists and researchers all over are working to learn more about Covid-19. In Howard County, they're partnering with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to conduct a serology study. A serology study is a test done to see if someone has antibodies.

Members of the Applied Physics Lab are working on the study to better understand the impacts of the virus in our community, especially since many people didn't show any symptoms when they were infected.

"We saw anywhere from 5-25 percent of the community either had zero or very few symptoms. Now, we’ll be able to understand throughout various demographics what those symptoms look like so we can learn how to detect them in the future," said Calvin Ball, the Howard County Executive. He added, "we wanna do our part to keep people safe and add to the body of knowledge to protect future generations."

This study has been going on for weeks now with volunteers from the community.

"I think it’s important to support science in this time. I think good science is going to help us get out of this pandemic," said Gina Maclean, a Howard County Resident. She also said she wanted to know if she had antibodies.

Mary Chiu, another Howard County resident, said she participated in the study to hopefully end this pandemic. She said the process was quick and easy since everyone working on the study was so organized. Once they completed a household survey online at home, each participant came in to do a saliva swab.

"It's not a traditional swab. It's more like a sponge. They have you scrap it along the top of teeth right at your gum line. You did that for two minutes and then you're done," said Chiu.

We also talked with a couple who participated who are both in the healthcare field. "I just want to help the scientific community in face learn more about this," said Jaishiri Mehta. Her husband, Ashu, added, "we have to do it to know. Do we actually need all these boosters? Is it more of a money grab? We have to figure all that out."

Jaishiri said, "the more we know the more equipped well be to get rid of this pandemic." Ashu added, "then we can follow the signs more and not just politics."

The goal of the study is to have 3,000 community members in Howard County partake and 300 first responders. The last two days to help with this study are Saturday, September 18 and Sunday, September 19. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Saturday, volunteers can go to Howard County Library Savage Branch in Laurel from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. to participate. Sunday, the final day of testing is from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mount Airy.

Ball said, "we're pleased with community interest but we want to make sure we get every demographic sector, same way we’re seeing with vaccine hesitancy we also see some hesitancy in participating. The more our diverse communities can participate the more we can understand how Covid-19 could manifest could spread in out communities and keep people safe."