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Corona blood test starts: how many people have been infected?
The number of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus continues to rise. Symptoms do not appear in everyone who is infected with the new pathogen. Therefore, the virus is rarely found in these people. A large-scale blood test should now show how many people have already been infected.
The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) is asking around 5,000 participants in the "Rhineland Study" for a blood test for a new study on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. According to a message, the screening will show how many people have been infected with the coronavirus and whether they have no, mild or severe symptoms.
Participants are tested for antibodies
The blood of the study participants is to be tested for antibodies against the novel corona virus.
By comparing these findings with data on health, lifestyle and immune status, most of which were already collected in the course of the "Rhineland Study", the researchers hope to gain new insights into the pathogen and how various health factors affect a coronavirus infection.
"This can help to develop prevention and therapy measures," explains Prof. Monique Breteler, head of the Rhineland study.
The DZNE scientist also had the idea of using the data collected so far in the fight against the corona virus. “It makes sense to use these resources,” the researcher is convinced.
Very different disease courses
The SARS-CoV-2 virus can cause serious medical problems. As the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) explains on its portal "infektionsschutz.de", cough and fever are reported as the most common symptoms.
Other symptoms include shortness of breath, runny nose, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and headache. Impairment of the sense of smell / taste is also often reported.
Diseases with severe pneumonia up to lung failure and death are also possible.
On the other hand, however, there are also those who do not seem to notice that they are infected. “Why some people are resistant to this virus and others are not is an open question. Previous illnesses may play a role. However, this is largely unclear in detail, ”says Breteler.
“We assume that among our study participants there are both recovered coronavirus patients with whom the disease was recognized at the time and a certain undisclosed number that did not develop any symptoms. We can use the blood to find out whether antibodies have been formed and whether there is an infection. ”
Information about possible immunity
The blood test is free of charge and the result will be communicated to all study participants. “The Rhineland study is a real treasure for such a research project. Now I hope that our participants will support us in this project too, ”said Breteler.
"They will be among the first in Germany to find out whether they already have antibodies that have been specifically raised against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and can now assume that they are immune," says the scientist.
“We need massive participation. We are set to do all blood sampling in the next two to three weeks. We are planning a follow-up examination in half a year to find out how the number of people with antibodies has developed until then. ”
Cooperation with Berliner Charité
"All previous participants in the Rhineland study are invited to the blood tests. The prerequisite is that they do not have any cold symptoms on the day the blood is drawn. If you suspect that you are acutely ill with Covid-19, you should not contact us, but definitely consult a doctor, ”warns Breteler.
According to the information, the “Rhineland Study” is working closely on this project with the Institute of Virology at the Charité Mitte campus. Its director, Prof. Christian Drosten, was quickly convinced of this opportunity to get to know the corona virus better.
His laboratory will test the blood samples collected in Bonn for specific antibodies against the new corona virus.
The DZNE points out that it attaches great importance to protecting health. "Our scientists want to help tackle this global crisis," explains Prof. Pierluigi Nicotera, scientific director and chairman of the DZNE.
"If we open the premises of the Rhineland Study for these examinations, we will protect both our employees and the study participants to the highest standards. The Bonn University Hospital advises and supports us in this. ”(Ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.