Approximately 3.5 percent of Arkansas citizens have been infected with COVID-19, according to a recent University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) antibody study.
In the Arkansas Coronavirus Antibodies Seroprevalence Survey, researchers tested 1,220 adult blood samples, finding 43 positive instances, or 3.5 percent, of the novel coronavirus. These samples were collected in July and August 2020.
Seroprevlance, according to a UAMS news release, is defined as the “proportion of people in a population whose blood serum tests positive for a particular disease.”
According to the early findings, there was a higher incidence of COVID-19 among Hispanic individuals. Of 73 Hispanic individuals tested in the study, 17.8 percent were positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Black or African American individuals tested positive at a rate of 4.19 percent; with a total of 501 Black individuals, there were 21 positive cases. White individuals had the lowest COVID-19 infection rate at 1.27 percent. There were 550 White individuals in the study, and only seven tested positive.
“Based on the data and statistical analysis to date, Hispanics/Latinx and Blacks/African Americans have a higher percentage of positive COVID-19 antibody tests. This relationship will need to be studied further for other factors that might influence these numbers. We hope to work through some of these issues over the next two waves of the study,” Joshua Kennedy, M.D, one of the researchers and an associate professor in the College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, said in a statement.
The study, supported by $3.3 million in CARES Act Funding, was launched in summer 2020 once UAMS researchers created high-accuracy antibody testing methods. In total, UAMS is collecting 7,500 blood samples from Arkansas adults and children, with Arkansas Children’s Hospital heading up the pediatric components of the study.
The early results represent 16 percent of UAMS’ projected total of 7,500 blood samples.
“These early results show the importance of our efforts to survey statewide,” Laura James, director of the UAMS Translational Research Institute and associate vice chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research at UAMS, said “We will continue to evaluate antibody rates over the next several months to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in Arkansas.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the estimated population for Arkansas (as of July 1, 2019) was 3,017,804. As of Friday Oct. 23 (at 11 a.m.), there have been 96,292 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6,506 probable cases for a total of 102,798.
Taking the total number and assuming that each case is for one individual, this would result in a 3.4 percent COVID-19 infection rate.