UAMS study shows Hispanic, Black populations more likely to have COVID-19 antibodies


(David Morrison/Eli Lilly via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A new study tracking COVID-19 antibodies in Arkansans found a wide range of disparities between different racial and ethnic groups in the state.

The statewide COVID-19 antibody study led by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences found that by the end of 2020, 7.4 percent of Arkansans developed antibodies to the virus.

Researchers added that the numbers show a greater impact of the virus in communities of color.

“Hispanic populations were almost 19 times more likely to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies than whites, and Blacks were five times more likely to have antibodies as whites during the course of the study,” said Laura James, M.D., the study’s principal investigator and director of the UAMS Translational Research Institute.

These findings highlight the need to understand factors that impact SARS-CoV-2 infection in underrepresented minority populations, she added.

“Our findings underscore the need for everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they can,” Kennedy said. “Very few people in the state have immunity from a natural infection, so vaccination is key for getting Arkansas out of the pandemic.”

The team also found little difference in antibody rates between rural and urban residents, which surprised researchers who thought rural residents might be less exposed.

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