The NBA was one of the first major social institutions to be hit by the coronavirus. When Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 in March, the entire season was forced to shut down. Leagues and businesses followed suit. More players, like Donovan Mitchell and Kevin Durant, have tested positive as well, and the sport as a whole is now in a holding pattern as the world grapples with this pandemic.
Fortunately for everyone, clinics and labs around the world are researching the disease in an effort to either cure it or create a vaccine that provides immunity to the populace. One such effort is taking place at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBA and its players are supporting it. The study, according to Charania, will focus on antibodies in recovered players to understand the prevalence of the disease in and around the NBA.
This is not the first such study that has been supported by the NBA. A number of NBA players that have recovered from the coronavirus, including Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, donated their blood for an experimental treatment for high-risk COVID-19 patients, according to Dr. Michael Joyner, a member of the leadership team of the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project.
As of now, a number of potential vaccines and treatments for coronavirus are in the testing phase. The optimistic timeline for a potential vaccine according to most experts in 12-18 months, though there is no way of knowing how much longer it could take. While professional basketball may not need a vaccine to resume, it will at least need wider scale testing than currently exists. Commissioner Adam Silver has made a point to say that the NBA will not hoard limited tests.
The basketball world will not be able to return to true normalcy until some form of cure or vaccine is found. If studies like these can help expedite that process, then the NBA is likely happy to participate.