Help us learn more
about COVID-19!

Join us in fighting the spread.

Join this free and anonymous study by answering a survey and taking a finger-prick blood test from your home.

A collaboration by

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In partnership with these County Public Health Departments

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How it Works

We’re mailing invitations

We send invitations by mail to randomly picked households in your county.

Order a test kit

Use the access code in your invitation letter to order testing kits for up to one adult and one child in your household.

Register your kit

Enter in the 6-digit code found on your test box to take the survey and learn how to use the lancet to place blood spots on a piece of filter paper.

Get your results

Mail the kit back to us using the pre-paid envelope and we'll mail your results back.

I got an invitation

Your household has been randomly chosen to take part in a free statewide COVID-19 study. We want to learn how many people in California may have COVID-19 antibodies and how it is impacting our communities.

Please check the box below to proceed

I got a test kit

Please enter the activation
and zip code below.

Please check the box below to proceed

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

CalScope is a study run by the California Department of Public Health to learn more about how many people in California may have antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 (called SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus). Californians who join this study will answer an online survey and take a finger-prick blood test to see if they may have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The test for this study looks for antibodies in the blood, which show that a person has been infected with a virus before or has been vaccinated. By looking for antibodies, we can measure the prevalence, or the number of people who have antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. This will help us understand how many people in California may have been infected with COVID-19 or vaccinated up to this point. The California Department of Public Health is working with local county health departments and Stanford University for this study.
The goal of this study is to learn more about how many people in California have antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19, either because of a past infection or vaccination. This information will help us learn more about how the virus that causes COVID-19 has spread in California. Information collected from this study will also help the California Department of Public Health and local public health departments as we work to prevent and stop the spread of this virus.

The California Department of Public Health will randomly mail letters to households asking them to take part in this study. This invitation letter will have a special 8-digit access code that people can use if they want to join the study. Up to 2 people (1 adult and 1 child older than 6 months) from each household can participate. If there are multiple adults and children living in your household, we ask that the adult and child with the nearest upcoming birthday join this study.

Only households that receive a mailed invitation letter can join. If you get an invitation letter, do not share the letter with people in a different household, even if you do not want to join the study.

If you want to join the study, you’ll be asked to complete a one-time survey online that will ask for basic information about you and your household, as well as your activities and medical history. You will also be asked to use a test kit at home to collect a finger-prick blood sample.
The online survey will take about 20 minutes to complete for each person. The finger prick test will take about 5-10 minutes. After you complete and send in your survey and blood test, you will get your test results back in about 3-4 weeks by mail.

If you get an invitation letter for this study, it will have a unique access code that you can use to register for the study online. Here are the steps for registering and taking part in the study:

1. Find the 8-digit access code included in your invitation letter, and enter the code online at www.calscope.org along with your zip code.

2. When you register online, you will choose if 1 or 2 people (1 adult and/or 1 child) from your household will be part of the study. You will not be asked to give names of people joining the study when you register.

3. After you register for the study online, you will receive blood test kit(s) in the mail within 1-2 weeks.

4. When you receive the kit(s), you should review the information included in the kit and make sure that any children participating in the study have permission from a parent or legal guardian to take part in the study.

5. When you’re ready to begin, go to calscope.org/#gotkit and activate the test kit by entering in the 6-character code starting with a “C” along with your zip code.

6. After you activate your kit online, you will complete the survey online and follow the directions to collect the blood sample.

7. When you are done collecting the blood sample, mail the kit back using the pre-paid return mailer bag included in the test kit package.

If you need help at any point while registering or completing the survey or blood test, you can contact the CalScope study team by phone at 1-833-580-1333 or fill out this online support form.

Access to the Internet is preferred to be able to take part in this study, but you don’t have to have a computer to participate. If you have a smartphone or a mobile phone with a data plan that allows you to access the Internet, then you can still take part in this study. The survey and other forms for this study may be completed on your phone’s Internet browser. If you don’t have access to the Internet, you can contact us to participate by phone. You can contact the CalScope study team by phone at 1-833-580-1333 or email at calscope@cdph.ca.gov to get help with the website or any other part of the study.
All materials for the CalScope study will be available in English, Spanish, Tagalog, and simplified Chinese.

No, you do not have to join the study if you don’t want to. If no adult from your household wants to join the study, but a child is willing, the child may join the study if they have permission from a parent or legal guardian to join. An adult must also be willing to help the child register and take part in the study. Children must be at least 6 months old to take part in the study. Anyone who decides to join the study can choose to skip any survey questions they do not want to answer. You may also withdraw from or drop out of the study at any time.

If no one in the household wants to complete either the survey and/or the blood test kit, you should throw away the invitation letter. The invitation letter is only for the household address that it is mailed to, so please do not give the invitation letter to other people who live at a different address.

We hope that people who join the study will be able to complete both the survey and the blood test kit, but we understand that it may not be possible for everyone. You can choose to only complete the online survey and not complete the blood test kit.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, which is also called coronavirus. COVID-19 spreads to people though droplets or small particles that leave an infected person’s body when they cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe. COVID-19 causes many different symptoms. Some people who have COVID-19 may not feel sick at all. Others may have a flu-like illness with fever, cough, diarrhea, and even loss of smell. Some people may get very sick and have severe disease involving the lungs and other parts of the body. People with severe COVID-19 may need to stay in the hospital.
SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that causes COVID-19. Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 is made up of genetic material--in this case, RNA--surrounded by a type of shell or coating. These viruses can enter human cells and make people sick.
Antibodies are proteins made by a person’s immune system that attach to a virus that enters the body. Antibodies help the body’s immune system find and kill a virus that enters the body. A person’s immune system makes new antibodies any time they are infected with a new virus or germ. It takes time for the body to make antibodies. A few weeks may go by before there are enough antibodies in a person’s blood for a blood test to be able to find them. Antibodies can stay in the blood for a long time, even after an infection is gone or if a person is no longer sick. If the antibody to the SARS-CoV-2 virus is found in the blood, that means that the person was once infected with the virus before, even if they didn’t feel sick. But because antibodies can stay in the blood for a long time, an antibody test doesn’t tell us exactly when the infection happened.
The most common way to know if a person is infected with coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) or has COVID-19 is to swab the nose or throat and test to see if the virus is there. A laboratory uses a test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to look for genetic material of the virus in the sample collected from a person. A PCR test is very good at finding a virus in a sample and can find infection in 92 to 100 out of 100 tests. Finding the virus in a swab test means you may have been infected recently (within a few weeks).
Yes. There have been a few cases reported of people who have been infected with the coronavirus more than once, but we believe this is very rare.
Yes, if you submit a finger-prick blood sample using the home test kit, you will receive your test results, which will tell you if you have coronavirus antibodies or not. After you send in your test kit by mail, you should receive your results by mail within 3-4 weeks. If both an adult and child from your household sent in test kits, you can find your results by both the age and sex. We do not collect your name or other personal information, so the test kit code is the best way to know which test results are yours. If you do not get your test results within 4 weeks after returning the kit, you can contact the CalScope study team by phone at 1-833-580-1333 or fill out this online support form.

A positive antibody test, or a result that says, “antibodies are present,” means that you may have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in the past. A positive antibody test does not mean that you are currently infected or sick with COVID-19. You may also have a positive antibody test if you have had a COVID-19 vaccine. It can take 1-3 weeks or longer for a person’s immune system to develop antibodies after being infected with a virus or receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s important to know that a positive antibody test may be wrong, and that you may have never been infected with the virus before. This kind of error (called a “false positive”) is uncommon, and only happens about 5 to 15 times out of 100 tests. This is the first time these antibody tests have been used for testing at home, so we can’t be 100% sure of the exact accuracy of these tests yet.

The antibody test used in this study is meant to be used for public health purposes only. The results of this test should not be used to make medical decisions. Scientists do not know if having antibodies to the COVID-19 virus protects you from getting infected again in the future. The test used in this study has been designed and tested for research but has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You should not change your behavior based on your result of the antibody test. You should continue to follow public health recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 tests that are used to look for past infection, please visit the CDC COVID-19 Test for Past Infection website.

A negative antibody test, or a result that says “antibodies are absent”, means the test did not find antibodies in your blood, meaning you may never have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in the past. However, because it can take 1-3 weeks or longer for a person’s immune system to develop antibodies after being infected with a virus, this test can’t tell whether you are currently infected with the virus.

It’s important to know that a negative antibody test may be wrong, and that you may actually have been infected with the virus before. For example, the test may not have been able to detect any of the antibodies that you have in your blood. The test may also have been taken too early or too late after infection. This kind of error (called a “false negative”) is uncommon, and only happens about 1 time out of 100 tests. This is the first time these antibody tests have been used for testing at home, so we can’t be 100% sure about the exact accuracy of these tests yet.

The antibody test used in this study is meant to be used for public health purposes only. The results of this test should not be used to make medical decisions. Scientists do not know if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 protects you from getting infected again in the future. The test used in this study has been designed and tested for research but has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You should not change your behavior based on your result of the antibody test. You should continue to follow public health recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19 tests that are used to look for past infection, please visit the CDC COVID-19 Test for Past Infection website.

People who may have already received some or all of their COVID-19 vaccines, tested positive for COVID-19 before, or are routinely tested, are allowed to join the study.

People who are vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 infection will develop antibodies that can be detected by our test. It will take 1 to 3 weeks after you have received the vaccine before your immune system develops antibodies. Depending on how many doses of the vaccine you have had, and how long ago you got the vaccine, your antibody test may or may not be positive.

The antibody test uses a finger prick to collect a blood sample, so you may have pain or bruising in the area where you pricked your finger after you complete the blood test. Rarely, a finger prick can cause an infection. Before you prick your finger for the blood test, you will be asked to wash your hands with soap and water and use the alcohol wipes included in the test kit to make sure the skin on your finger is clean. This will help prevent infection after the finger prick. Information in the test kit will also help you find the right size finger-prick needle to use to help prevent pain or discomfort during the finger prick.
You should not expect any direct benefit from taking part in this study. The information collected in this study is used to help the California Department of Public Health and local health departments as we work to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19.
Yes. To thank you for taking the time to join the study, you will receive a $20 gift card for each online survey that is completed for your household. You will also receive a $20 gift card after the CalScope team receives each completed test kit from your household. Your household can receive up to a total of $80 if both 1 adult and 1 child completes all surveys and test kits for this study. Gift cards will be sent by email or text within 1-2 business days, although physical gift cards may take about 1-2 weeks for participants to receive by mail.

This study is designed to learn more about how many people in California may have been infected with and have developed antibodies to the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19, or may have developed antibodies due to getting a vaccine. Antibodies are proteins in the blood that are a made by a person’s immune system when they are infected with a virus. If a person has antibodies in their blood, it is a sign that they have been infected with a virus before, even if they didn’t have symptoms. People may develop antibodies a few weeks after being infected with a virus or getting vaccinated. An antibody blood test won’t be able to tell if you currently have COVID-19 or not.

This test is different from other COVID-19 tests, which usually involve a nose or throat swab. These swab tests are used to see if someone is currently sick or infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

No, it does not cost money to take part in the study. The testing offered in this study is free.

Yes, your participation in this study is confidential. The survey will not ask for your personal information, such as your name or birthday. All survey and blood test results are collected anonymously (meaning we don’t ask for your name) in order to protect your identity.

In order to provide you with study updates, we will ask you to provide your phone number and email, but you don’t have to share this information if you don’t want to. As soon as your participation is completed or if you withdraw from the study, any contact information that you shared with us will be erased.

Any information that you share with us is stored on a secure server and is password protected. Only the research team can use this data, and none of the data contain personal information that can identify you. All the researchers that are part of this study must receive training and certifications to make sure that they know how to properly handle data and protect the privacy of all participants. We will not collect personal information like your name or birthday that could be used to identify you. Also, any contact information, such as phone numbers, email, and home addresses, will be kept separate from survey and test data.

Information from this study will only be used by the CalScope study team. Any survey responses or test results will not be shared with other groups that are not involved in the study. Information from everyone that joined the study will be grouped together and analyzed for reports used by the California Department of Public Health. Any information from this project will be analyzed and reported as a group, meaning there is no way that someone will be able to find or see your specific survey or test results. Since all survey responses and test results are collected anonymously (without names), they cannot and will not be reported to the state’s electronic disease reporting database or shared with any other governmental program.