The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly planning to launch a nationwide study in 25 metropolitan areas testing blood from donors to examine the spread of coronavirus around the U.S.

Reuters reported Monday that the CDC study, which is set to begin in June or July, will tests tens of thousands of blood samples from donors around the country. The study’s aim is to locate antibodies created by the body in response to the presence of the COVID-19 virus.

“We have selected sites to give a broad geographical distribution throughout the country,” said Dr. Graham Simmons, a researcher with the nonprofit Vitalant Research Institute, which is leading the first stage of the study.

A precursor study led by Vitalant is examining blood from donors in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Minneapolis, according to Reuters. The CDC did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on what the later study would encompass.

News of the CDC’s study comes as some have called for the agency to take on a greater role in the nation’s fight against coronavirus, which has largely thus far been led by the White House coronavirus task force. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called on the agency to not be sidelined in an op-ed published over the weekend in The Wall Street Journal.

“There are shortcomings in our ability to access the electronic systems designed to help glean facts from clinical data. CDC hasn’t been filling its traditional role of promptly publishing medical findings that may help doctors care for patients,” Gottlieb wrote. “Instead, a lot of this information is being passed around social media, by email or even through word of mouth. It’s trial and error on a global scale.”

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