The Partnership for Clean Competition, anti-doping non-profit that funds about 80% of anti-doping research worldwide, is allocating $120,000 to COVID-19 research with the goal of helping scientists “get a better sense of how many people have the new coronavirus but show no symptoms,” the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the NFL, Major League Baseball and the U.S. Olympic Committee founded the group – which will partner with USC, Stanford and a Salt Like City anti-doping lab for this project – in 2008.
“The study will reveal the prevalence of COVID-19 infections,” Daniel Eichner, president of the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City, told the AP. “Importantly, the data will also determine how many people have been infected and recovered. Based on our observations of other outbreaks, many carriers don’t have a clinical reason to get tested, so they go undetected and may continue to put others at risk of infection.”
Michael Pearlmutter, PCC executive director, said the lab bought 15,000 testing kits that produce results within 15 minutes, according to the AP. Some of the tests will be given to individuals in “sports-related organizations near Stanford and USC, but also to members of the general public in highly affected areas,” in order to get a better sense of the virus’ prevalence in the general population.
“What we need is a large enough sample size to produce data that can be used for solid decision-making,” Pearlmutter said.
“I don’t think anyone expected we’d be doing this, but we all have a part to play,” he added. “In our case, we have resources and access to SLC lab. It was nimble and appropriate for our board to allow us to do this project, in addition to the anti-doping research we always do.”