The Mayo Clinic is working with the 76ers and NBA to determine the number of players and staff members who have antibodies to COVID-19.
Those with antibodies could potentially be immune to being reinfected. Close to 400 people from about half of the NBA teams have participated, according to The Ringer website. More teams could join when their practice facilities open.
A Sixers spokesman said the team will participate in the study. All teams are expected to participate, ESPN reported.
Meanwhile, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is in serious discussions with the NBA and appears to be the front-runner to host teams in the campus-like site minus fans, according to The Athletic. Las Vegas is another possible location.
If the NBA season does resume, it’s expected to be in July, with training camp beginning in June. More than a week ago, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the league’s Board of Governors that he planned to decide on the season within two to four weeks.
Major League Soccer also has reportedly been talking to Disney about using the Wide World of Sports complex to resume its season with neutral-site practices and games.
Those who were tested for the antibodies reportedly received a finger-stick blood draw, created by the Mayo Clinic, and a vein-puncture blood draw at their team’s practice facilities. The Mayo Clinic shipped the supplies to the team doctors. .
Dr. Priya Sampathkumar who is leading the Mayo Clinic’s antibodies study, told The Ringer: "It would be hugely helpful because the finger-stick blood draw could be done at home, and the sample could be mailed in for testing at a lab. Vast numbers of people could be tested without any need to go to the hospital or a clinic to receive a blood draw.”
The blood draws will help the NBA track the spread of COVID-19 around the leagueand help with the overall research of antibodies. It could also help speed up the resumption of the 2019-20 season.
“With coronavirus being so new, we’re still not sure whether these antibodies will last more than a few months or if it truly means you are immune,” Sampathkumar said. “But with most viruses, when you have antibodies, it means you have immunity to the virus for several months or several years.”