Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York have developed a blood test that can indicate whether a person has ever been infected with the new corona virus. That reports Technology Review online in “Blood test shows actual coronavirus spread”. The one MedRxiv pre-publication The test described searches for antibodies against Covid-19 in blood samples and thus resembles the most frequently used detection test, for example for HIV.
The test can be used to find out how many people are actually infected or have had contact with the pathogen and are now immune. Because a lot of people get infected, but develop little or no symptoms. On the one hand, knowing their number is important for disease modelers so that their prognoses are more accurate. Governments also urgently need the test to decide how strong foreclosure measures are needed for the population.
The new corona virus has more than worldwide 10,000 people killed. This corresponds to approximately four percent of the 244,600 confirmed cases and results in a shocking mortality rate (as of March 20, 2020). However, the actual mortality rate is certainly lower and possibly much lower. So far, however, epidemiologists have not been able to quantify them precisely. Essentially, the modelers lack the exact denominator of the mortality rate calculation: For this, one divides the number of people who died from the corona virus by the number of all infected.
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