MLB participating in coronavirus antibody study

UPDATED: 1:37 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Employees of Major League Baseball have volunteered to participate in an antibody study set up to learn more about the spread of COVID-19.

The test is meant to determine the presence of unique antibodies produced by the body's immune system to fight the coronavirus.

According to The Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Phillies are one of the teams taking part. The Phils gave only front office staffers the option to take the test.

This study is being conducted by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, as well as Stanford University and USC. They reached out to baseball because of the league’s large geographical span.

Dr. Daniel Eichner, the president and lab director at SMRTL, told CNN they’ve been able to recruit “from the team owner all the day down to hot dog sales, and everything in between.”

He said it’s important to test from “a wide spread of the general population.”

Each participant get a pinprick blood test that gives results in minutes. These tests are different from those on the frontline because they will indicate if someone has had the virus at any time in the past, even if they have recovered.

“The advantage is if you’ve been infected, knowingly or unknowingly, and you’ve already recovered from it, you’ll still be picked up on the antibody test,” Eichner told CNN.

Thousands of baseball employees are supposedly taking the test. When the researchers contacted MLB, the league was eager to participate.

Test results will not have an impact on when the season will start. It is strictly for gathering data.