Five percent of those tested have antibodies

I.n According to a study, five percent of the population or 2.3 million people have been infected with the new corona virus to date. That would be ten times as many people as officially known. This resulted in the first round of a series of tests for antibodies started in late April in 36,000 households with around 90,000 residents, as the Ministry of Health in Madrid announced on Wednesday evening. The tests are designed to help assess the true extent of the corona outbreak in the country.

Officially, the number of Spaniards infected with the virus was just under 229,000 on Wednesday. However, the number is not considered representative because most of the tests were performed on people with severe symptoms or healthcare workers.

Large regional differences

The study continues to achieve more accurate results: All participants are subjected to two different tests, which are carried out three times at three-week intervals.

So far there have been very different results in the different autonomous communities of the country: While in the particularly badly affected region of Madrid more than ten percent of the population has apparently developed antibodies, the number in less affected areas such as the Canaries or Mallorca is only about two percent .

With such tests, experts can find out whether a person has already been infected with Sars-CoV-2 and has raised antibodies in the blood against it – even if they had little or no symptoms of the disease and often knew nothing about their infection.

However, the tests have so far not worked absolutely reliably and often also work with other corona viruses. Several of these pathogens cause colds in humans. A positive result therefore does not have to mean that the person concerned was actually infected with the novel pathogen.

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