MLB steps up to the plate: data, data, data

Posted on Apr 17, 2020 in Blog
MLB steps up to the plate:  data, data, data

Richard Roth, Esq. –

April 17th 2020

The most important aspect of determining how to resolve the Coronavirus as well as how to best get the workforce back in place has come down to testing, as all governors have made it clear that with testing and data, the scientists will be able to forge ahead.  Now the MLB is taking an “at bat.”

Yes, the league is joining the fight against the virus in a material way to assist society.  Twenty seven of the league’s 30 teams have voluntarily agreed to take part in a nationwide study by testing for COVID-19 antibodies.  As we have learned through the press conferences of the various governors and the president, those antibodies are part of the immune system’s response to the coronavirus. That is, when an individual tests positive for antibodies, it will reveal which individuals were infected but failed to show symptoms — and may even now be immune from the disease.

Daniel Eichner, president of Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, who has a Ph.D. in viral immunology, knew there was a need for widespread and quick data collection.  So, he went to the MLB to perform a study and the league quickly responded “absolutely.” So a study is underway across the country that includes older executives in the higher risk categories, 20-something baseball players and even hot dog vendors.  Participants are given a simple test — a finger prick to draw blood — and the results are known in a few minutes. Eichner says MLB employees who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies will consult with team doctors.  Data collection will finish this week and then the researchers will analyze the data, crunch the numbers and write a paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. 

The data recovered is far more important than the tests that detect is someone has the virus.  The antibody tests will be used to answer critical questions about the Coronavirus.  As all politicians have made clear, the most important next step is the collection of significant and relevant date to then allow for the reopening of parts of the economy.

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