The results of the so-called Wachau study are available – and they provide hope. The immunity rate of the population is likely to be higher than expected – at around 25 percent – and the antibodies appear to have a long lifespan.
The screenings were conducted for the fourth time in mid-February by Danube Private University (DPU) in Krems in Weißenkirchen in der Wachau (Krems district). Almost 60 percent of the inhabitants – 824 to be exact – took part in the study, plus 463 formerly infected Lower Austrians outside of Weißenkirchen who had themselves tested for antibodies in this way. The result: 6.34 percent of the inhabitants have been tested positive so far, but the study proves that up to 29 percent have antibodies, i.e. the number of unreported cases is enormously high.
Antibodies “last” at least eleven months
87.5 percent of the people who were infected in March still have stable antibodies now, summarizes Robert Wagner, the director of scientific coordination at DPU. The only people who no longer have antibodies are those who were unaware of their infection, i.e. who experienced an extremely mild course.
It can be concluded that antibodies remain active for at least eleven months. If one extrapolates the number of unreported cases, one would arrive at an infection rate of 18 percent for the almost 67,000 people in Lower Austria who had tested positive by February 13, and the same value applies nationwide.
High herd immunity
The conclusion drawn by Dennis Ladage, the study leader in human medicine at the DPU: “Since antibodies are also formed in the blood of the vaccinated in the course of vaccinations, and these antibodies probably correspond to those of more intensive infections, it can be assumed that the infection-related contagion rate and the vaccination rate together lead to a herd immunity that is probably already beyond 25 percent in Austria.”
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