COVID-19 Antibody Prevelance Increased throughout 2020: New Research from CRL
Dr. Robert Stout, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at CRL, and Dr. Steven Rigatti, Consulting Medical Director with CRL, conducted new medical research on the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies among a well population.
COVID-19 research from CRL doctors was published by the Epidemiology International Journal on January 5. The research, The Silent Pandemic COVID-19 in the Asymptomatic Population, describes the seroprevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus over time. Convenience samples from life insurance applicants were used to conduct this research from May to December.
The key finding was the prevalence of COVID-19 has increased in the asymptomatic population from May to September to December, being 3.0%, 6.6% and 10.4% respectively.
Testing was performed on nearly 127,000 asymptomatic life insurance applicants who self-reported feeling well without knowledge of whether they had COVID-19 antibodies. The research was conducted in effort to understand the national prevalence among an asymptomatic population, as limited research currently exists.
This seroprevalence suggests a larger pool of individuals have contracted and recovered from COVID-19, implying a lower case rate of hospitalizations and deaths reported to date.
What This Means for Insurers
Without knowledge of the long-term health consequences and effects on both morbidity and mortality, insurers should be very concerned with the increased prevalence in this short timeframe. Recent reports have reported changes in the brain. Autopsy data have revealed there are changes in heart muscle and lung tissue in those who have died from COVID-19. CT scans have shown “ground glass opacities” in the lungs of both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. If these effects also occur in the asymptomatic populations, mortality rates may rises not from COVID-19, but, with an increased mortality across the entire population association with cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal disease.
About the Authors
Dr. Robert Stout serves as Chief Scientific Officer and Laboratory Director for CRL’s General Laboratory. He provides scientific direction and research leadership for CRL with particular focus on research for CRL’s Insurer Services business. Dr. Stout, who has been with CRL since 1983, holds more than ten U.S. Patents in science, including one for immunoassay method and apparatus development (U.S. Patent #4,414,324) and one for methods of determining chronic Hepatitis C infection (U.S. Patent #10,051,253). He is the author of numerous research COVID-19,and review articles and is a regular presenter at scientific meetings and conferences. Dr. Stout holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from California State University and a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from U.C.L.A. School of Medicine.
Dr. Steven J. Rigatti is a consulting medical director with Clinical Reference Laboratory, with 12 years’ experience in the life insurance industry. He is the current chair of the Mortality Committee of the American Academy of Life Insurance Medicine.