Coronavirus Study Underway in Vanderburgh County
With the study, Vanderburgh County will have a much clearer picture than most communities of how widely COVID-19 has infected this area.
(SB) “I’m talking with Dr. Majed Koleilat of Deaconess Clinic. He’s an allergist and immunologist there. He’s also the principal investigator for the local coronavirus research study. Thank you Dr. Koleiliat, for taking a few minutes to talk with us today. Can you walk us through how it (the study) will take place?”
(MK) So, in a simplistic way, we will run what would, through statistic, be a reflection of this population. We went to every employer and tried to get a cross section of their employees. For example, we need so many people of this gender and that gender, this age, that age, that job description if possible.
We don’t want everyone to be from the office and we don’t want everyone to be from the plant. We don’t want everyone to be from a service industry and we don’t everyone to be from a manufacturing industry.
The one thing this is important is that we made this and structured it in such a way that you can copy cat it anywhere. We can do the same thing in the northern region of Kentucky, on the other side of the river. We can do the same thing around Vincennes. We can do the same thing around Jasper. “
(SB) “You’re attempting to get up to a thousand test subjects in a five day period. Why is that important? That sounds like a really big study.”
(MK) There are two important things. A. You have to run by a statistical sample to see if the sample is sufficient. If you had a disease that has a thirty percent penetration, you can test two hundred people. But when you have a disease with a low incidence in our area - luckily- testing fifty people is not going to be enough. You might pick fifty that are all negative and give us a false sense of security.
So, we try to pick employers that are fairly large, because going to a business that has five employees and testing all five of them is not going to be efficient. So, if a business has say, a thousand employees, and we test a hundred of those, and we tell them that out of the hundred we tested, twenty have the virus and eighty are immune, they know that they need to dig into that deeper.
If we tell them that out of the hundred, none were found to have the virus, and ten percent have seen it in the past, then we know a couple of things. That there was a lot more of the virus in the community than we thought, and currently there is not a lot of it so it may be safe to open gradually, or more rapidly than they thought. Maybe the numbers come up different, they may decide for a slower opening.
The most important thing is that this is a work in progress and we are all doing our best to help each other. We may find out that we may need to do something different, or something bigger to get a good answer. So, I just want to say that we’re going to need everyone’s help to do a good job and get a good answer.”