The health authorities’ recent antibody testing on more than 3,000 Koreans showed that only one person had antibodies against the new coronavirus, an extremely low figure compared to other countries.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced an interim result of the Covid-19 antibody tests, adding that the low figure resulted from stringent social distancing.
The KCDC’s tests were based on 1,555 samples from the National Nutrition Survey and 1,500 from patients who visited medical institutions in southwestern Seoul.
The results showed that all of the samples from the National Nutrition Survey tested negative for neutralizing antibodies against the virus, and only one from southeastern Seoul tested positive.
However, the KCDC noted that the samples were not representative enough to estimate the overall degree of Koreans’ immunity because the tests did not include Daegu and neighboring areas where the Covid-19 outbreak hit hardest.
The health authorities expected that Koreans would have a relatively lower immunity rate than people in other countries because Koreans actively sought to be tested and practiced strict social distancing.
In overseas cases, Spain’s antibody retention rate is believed to be 5 percent, London, 17 percent, Stockholm 7.3 percent, and Tokyo, 0.1 percent, according to news reports.
The KCDC said it planned to conduct antibody testing on samples from the National Nutrition Survey every two months and 3,300 in the general population in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the two initial hot spots, in July.
The authorities will expand the scope of testing by genders, age groups, and regions to keep track of a detailed degree of herd immunity and the size of asymptomatic infections
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