As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of April, 2020, all citizens who have had their blood drawn since Wednesday for various health check ups unrelated to coronavirus (COVID-19) are potential candidates for conducting a major study to find out just how deeply coronavirus has entered the population, according to a report from Jutarnji list.
”The first phase will see the random selection of 1,100 blood samples, collected from hospital laboratories, health centres and public health institutes from across the country. Croatian labs have been keeping hold of blood samples since Wednesday. The collection will take about ten days, and by then we expect 1100 ELISA tests to arrive, which will determine how many people have developed antibodies, that is, how many, without knowing it, were in contact with the virus,” Krunoslav Capak, the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, whose facility will be carrying out the testing, explained.
”At this stage, these will be ”anonymous” samples, that is, only the gender of the person, their age and whether or not he or she is suffering from a disease or is completely healthy will be known. The person’s first name doesn’t matter to us. What we want to do is see how many people actually have had the virus asymptomatically. We chose such samples because we consider them to be the most relevant in terms of representing the population. Some countries have opted to use the blood of voluntary blood donors, but we believe that we wouldn’t get a quality picture because most blood donors are healthy, middle-aged men,” said Capak.
Considering the fact that this coronavirus is new and we’re still in the research phase, this kind of study is being done for two reasons. The first reason is, as Capak explained, to see how many asymptomatic cases we have, that is, how many people have contracted the new coronavirus without even knowing it. The other reason is to see how many antibodies have, as such, been developed.
Specifically, it will be possible to monitor how long immunity to the disease lasts over time, which is something that is currently unknown and being questioned.
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