In 2020, a study revolving around the COVID 19 antibody was co-authored by Elon Musk. More than 4,300 employees of SpaceX volunteered in this study. Nature Communications has recently published the study. It shows that the people who showed mild symptoms of the virus when infected developed lesser immunity to COVID 19 than the people who were highly infected.
The group involved in the study have found evidence that shows a particular threshold of antibodies that can provide immunity. Vaccines can develop a much better immune response than cases with few to no signs. They hope that this study will allow policymakers to find out how to best efficiently distribute insufficient vaccine stocks.
In April 2020, SpaceX employees were asked to be a part of the study by Email. Around the same time, internal company emails and tweets started to be sent by Elon Musk. This spread misinformation about the virus. In March 2020, Elon Musk emailed the employees saying that it is more likely that one would die in a car crash as compared to death by the virus. He has also tweeted that there is a probability of new cases dropping down to zero in the US by the end of April 2020.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the current medical director of SpaceX worked with a scientist from Ragon Institute and an infectious disease specialist from Harvard to develop a research program about the antibodies for the virus. A total of 30 co-authors from Harvard, MIT, Howard Hughes Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, SpaceX, and others involved in the study. The National Institutes of Health, the Gates Foundation’s COVID 19 Vaccine Accelerator, Musk’s own charity foundation, and NASA’s Translational Science Institute for Space Health funded this initiative.
Blood samples were collected every month from the volunteers and workers of the program. The writers of the paper mention that 92 percent of the volunteers were male and that the median age was 31, which may have biased the findings.