Over 4,300 SpaceX employees volunteered to take part in a COVID-19 antibody study. The study was co-authored by CEO Elon Musk.
The study was recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications. It shows that those who are infected and have less severe symptoms developed a weaker immunity to COVID-19.
Others, such as those who became far sicker from the disease developed better antibodies. The study also found some evidence that suggests that there is a certain threshold of antibodies that could provide immunity. It is also noted in the study that those levels are unclear.
Additionally, vaccines produce a far greater immune response than cases where patients have little to no symptoms. The goal, here, is for this research to assist policymakers to determine the best way to distribute the limited number of vaccines that are available.
Almost 2.5 million people have died from this virus. Elon Musk himself contracted COVID-19 in November 2020. Elon mentioned that he only had mild symptoms.
SpaceX’s medical director worked with an expert in infectious disease from Harvard. Also, a doctor from the Ragon Institute was called in. The team developed an antibody testing program.
The study has 30 authords in total sourced from the likes of MIT, Harvard, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Howard Hughes Medical Center, among others.
Funding is coming from the National Institutes of Health, Elon Musk’s own charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s COVID-19 vaccine accelerator, and NASA’s Translational Research Institute for Space Health.
The employees that were in the study gave their blood for testing about once a month. The paper notes that the average for those in the study was 31. The full paper and dataset are available for free on Nature’s website.