Corona unknown figure is raised: First Austria-wide antibody study starts

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In Austria, a nationwide antibody study will be conducted in mid November. The aim is to determine the number of unreported coronavirus infections.

In mid-November, the number of undetected coronavirus infections will be determined again. At the same time, the first nationwide antibody study will be launched to determine the proportion of people with antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in Austria. This was announced on Tuesday by the Ministry of Science, which commissioned the study.

The study is being conducted by Statistik Austria in cooperation with the Red Cross and the Medical University of Vienna. Already in spring, these institutions have conducted three sample studies on behalf of the Ministry of Science to collect the estimated number of unreported cases, and an “experimental validation study” for antibody tests with a sample of people from risk areas with a high percentage of positive corona tests.

Data basis to be improved by study
The aim of the new study is “once again to improve the database so that we know where we are epidemiologically,” said Science Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) in a press release. Statistics Austria will randomly select about 5,000 persons aged 16 and over from the Central Register of Residents for the representative sample. Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, you will receive an information letter by mail with the course of the study.

The multipart SARS-CoV-2 tests, which consist of a PCR smear, a rapid antibody test and a blood sample for antibody testing, will then be carried out by the Red Cross between November 12 and 14. First results are expected to be available in mid-December.

Participation in the study is voluntary
Participation in the study is voluntary, but you cannot actively sign up for it. Only persons selected for the representative random sample will be tested. All results are processed and stored anonymously. The study participants will be informed about the results of their test.

In the first random sample study at the beginning of April (around 1,500 participants), up to 60,000 people infected with the Corona virus SARS-CoV-2 were found in addition to those infected in hospitals. In the second such study (around 1,400 participants), the peak value at the end of April was 11,000 Covid-19 infected persons. In the third survey at the end of May, there was not a single Covid-19-infected person among about 1,300 participants. Taking into account previous experience and the figures from the EMS system, the upper limit of unreported cases was estimated at between 6,000 and 3,000 at that time.

An average of 4.71 % had antibodies
Antibody testing of nearly 300 individuals from 27 selected communities with a high proportion of positive corona tests at the end of April showed that an average of 4.71 percent had antibodies. According to the results, around 1,900 people out of a total of 40,000 inhabitants in these high-risk communities had experienced a corona virus infection in the weeks prior to the test.

— Hector Pascua, Source: APA. Picture: stockilyapp.com

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