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Over 500 people randomly tested to study the impact of asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus

UT Health San Antonio teams up with San Antonio Fire Department and Metro Health to conduct the study.

SAN ANTONIO — UT Health San Antonio is working in partnership with San Antonio Metro Health and San Antonio Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program to study the impact of asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus.

Dr. Jon Gelfond is a data scientist in the Department of Population Health with UT Health San Antonio, and a member of the research team.

“These people are infected, and without symptoms, they can still spread the disease, and our concern is that they may spread this disease to others who then become seriously ill,” said Gelfond.

Gelfond said the team began working on the study a few weeks ago.

Medical students from UT Health’s Long School of Medicine have volunteered as members of household testing teams, randomly testing over 500 people across the county with the help of San Antonio Fire Department's Mobile Integrated Health team.

“We chose 50 neighborhoods and we wanted to represent all city council districts so that we can get a fair, unbiased determination about the rate of people who are infected and capable of spreading the disease, who may not know it,” said Gelfond.

Gelfond said the results will help researchers make informed decisions moving forward, and prepare in the case of another surge in positive.

“We're really trying to get that unbiased representation to figure out that unknown right now and how many people in our community are these asymptomatic people, and so that by knowing this, we can create better protections for the people who are most vulnerable,” said Gelfond.

Gelfond said the team has completed the random testing, and they are waiting for the results of those tests.

He said once they get the results, they can start analyzing the data, and anticipate the results will be published by the end of June.

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