Report: MLB players, other employees to participate in COVID-19 study

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that players, front office personnel, concession workers, and others will take part in a study involving 10,000 people. They will have their blood drawn via pinprick. The blood will then be studied for the presence of two antibodies: IgM and IgG. The Athletic’s Molly Knight says that 27 of 30 teams will have employees of some stripe being tested.

As Passan notes, IgM is produced early among those who have COVID-19. IgG is produced later on. The reason why the study is so expansive and including so many people of different backgrounds is not only to increase the sample size, but also to allow researchers to eliminate variables.

Major League Baseball apparently mobilized quickly to join in the study. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya said, “I’ve reached out to others, but MLB moved by far the fastest. They’ve been enormously cooperative and flexible. We’re trying to set up a scientific study that would normally take years to set up, and it’s going to be a matter of weeks.”

It is worth noting that MLB’s participation in this study isn’t motivated by the league’s urgency to start a season in some fashion. The data collected will have identifying information removed. Additionally, MLB did not pay to join the study. It appears that MLB mobilized selflessly, so kudos to all involved for that.

Hopefully, MLB’s reach will help scientists better understand the disease and eventually develop a vaccine for it.