More than 4,300 SpaceX staff voluntarily took part in a COVID-19 antibody study co-created by Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk in 2020.
The study, recently published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that the immune system of infected individuals with milder symptoms to COVID-19 is lower than the disease-sicker people. The study group found some evidence that there is a particular threshold of immune antibodies, although they wrote that "the precise levels of re-infection protection are unclear."
The authors note that vaccines are often much better in cases with little to no symptoms. They hope that this research and other studies such as this can help politicians to find out how limited supplies of vaccines can be distributed effectively.
In April 2020, SpaceX workers were asked by email to be included in the report – around the time Musk spread harmful rumors about the virus in internal corporate e-mails and on Twitter. In March 2020, in an e-mail to employees of SpaceX, Musk said that he thinks the death of the virus will be greater than that of COVID-19 and did not see that the virus "is one of America's 100 most vulnerable health risks." In the same month, he also tweeted that "nearly zero new cases would be reported," "at the end of April."
Since then nearly 500,000 people have died. In November 2020 Musk contracted with COVID-19 and said that he had mild symptoms.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the spaceflight company had its current medical director, who supervises the emerging SpaceX human flight program, collaborate with a Harvard infectiity specialist and a Ragon Institute doctor to improve the antibody testing program. The research was co-operated by a consortium of 30 co-authors from MIT, Harvard, Beth Israel Deaconess, Howard Hughes Medical Centre, SpaceX, and many others. The project was funded, inter alia, by the National Institutes of Health, Musk's own charitable foundation, the COVID-19 accelerator of the Gates Foundation, and the NASA Space Health Translational Research Institute.
The workers who registered were taking blood samples approximately every month. The authors of the paper noted that 92% of volunteers were male and 31 years of age, which may distort the findings. The complete paper and dataset are free on Nature's Website.
Source The Verge