19,000 participants needed for the National Covid-19 Antibody survey

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), together with research partners, Epicentre, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the National Health Laboratory Service, and the SA Medical Research Council, is continuing with the National Covid-19 Antibody survey (NCAS), which started in November and will end later this month. The survey is funded by both the Solidarity Fund and the HSRC, and supported by the department of health.

The survey is being conducted in nine provinces and is expected to reach 19,000 people in 400 communities. It also aims to understand and generate a national estimate of what proportion of South Africans may have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 (or Covid-19) virus, including those who may have been infected without knowing it, either due to being asymptomatic, having mild symptoms, or not being able to access testing facilities.

Though participation in the survey is voluntary, it’s important that as many people living in SA participate so the data generated is accurate and representative.  The NCAS study team will be asking 6,030 randomly sampled households to participate in the survey by sharing their experiences about the pandemic and providing blood samples. By analysing behavioural data and blood samples, the research team can better understand the risk factors associated with the virus and help inform public health responses to protect the people most at risk.

While the vaccination programme is being implemented, South Africans must continue to practise non-pharmaceutical and behavioural Covid-19 safety protocols. These include wearing masks correctly; covering the nose and mouth even when in the company of friends and family; avoiding large gatherings; ensuring good ventilation, especially when using public transport; washing and/or sanitising hands, and maintaining social distance.

South Africans are urged to continue to diligently implement these safety protocols.

The research team confirms that the survey is being conducted in full compliance with the national Covid-19 safety protocols.

For more information, visit the HSRC website; www.hsrc.ac.za and join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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