Triple-S announced it will carry out an epidemiologic study among its employees and their family members to contribute to COVID-19 data available in Puerto Rico.
“As a leading company in the field of health, our responsibility goes beyond providing access to quality services and protecting our members and employees. We also feel responsible for contributing to the knowledge of this novel virus and how it behaves in Puerto Rico,” Triple-S CEO Roberto García said.
The study will contribute to the island’s understanding of the extent of infection by age, sex, and region, the type of symptoms registered, and the rate of asymptomatic patients. The results will be shared with government authorities, the scientific community, and other companies, Triple-S said.
Triple-S will offer its nearly 4,000 employees and their immediate families — dependents included in their health plan — a serological test to detect the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. The potential group receiving the test is expected to fluctuate between 4,000 to 8,000 volunteers across Puerto Rico.
José Novoa, Triple-S’s chief medical officer, said one of the study’s goals is to see if the presence of COVID-19 antibodies could be related to immunity.
“Experience with other viruses suggests some kind of immunity, but we still don’t know enough about this virus to reach that kind of conclusion. This study is a step in that direction,” he said, adding that molecular tests will be carried out on the participants who test positive or have symptoms.
“A key element is that participating employees must fill out a sociodemographic questionnaire. Therein lies the wealth and value of this effort since until now, we have been using data from other countries and regions to study COVID-19,” he said.
Epidemiologist Rosa Pérez-Perdomo will be in charge of the study’s design and data analysis. Quest Diagnostics will provide the serological test and will be responsible for the process of specimen collection and handling.
The process for collecting samples will begin this Friday and is expected to take about 10 days. The final report should take about three months to complete, Triple-S said.