Germany is vulnerable to the second wave of Covid-19, as studies with antibodies show only 1.3% have immunity
Germany is vulnerable to a second Covid-19 wave because only 1.3 percent of the country has developed antibodies, experts fear.
The Robert Koch Institute, the country’s infectious disease agency, warned that almost everyone in the country is still at risk of infection.
Even the minority of antibodies – presumably about 1 million people – are not necessarily protected because immunity may decline over time.
It comes as a huge blow to the nation because it means that it doesn’t come close to the level of ‘herd immunity’ when so many people have been exposed that every outbreak naturally spills out.
The RKI analysis, from blood from 12,000 donors, found that 1.8 percent of men had antibodies and only 0.8 percent of women.
Scientists are currently baffled by the gender gap and think the difference may have to do with how the immune system differs between genders.
Germany is still vulnerable to the second wave of Covid-19, as antibody studies show only 1.3 percent of the country has antibodies. Pictured, Berlin, July 6
Germany has so far registered 200,436 confirmed cases of coronavirus and the crisis continues to ebb there.
About 9,139 deaths have been reported – just a fraction of the 45,000 registered by the UK government.
The RKI has analyzed blood samples from 13 blood banks in the past three months, The times reports.
COVID-19 ONLY OFFERS 14% PROTECTION FROM SECOND INFECTION
Covid-19 survivors do not develop strong immunity to the coronavirus, a study claims.
Researchers looking at how the immune system reacts in people who have ever had the disease found that it didn’t offer as much protection as expected.
In some diseases such as chickenpox, the body can remember exactly how to destroy it and ward it off before symptoms begin when it gets back in the body.
But the coronavirus – called SARS-CoV-2 – didn’t seem to elicit this response in everyone who caught it, according to the study that pushes hopes for widespread immunity without a vaccine.
A study of 41 people in Australia found that only three of them developed a sufficiently strong immune response to antibodies so that they could block half of the viruses when they got back into the body.
On average, the antibodies from the immune system were able to block 14.1 percent of coronaviruses when someone was exposed to the disease, making it likely that someone could get sick again.
Dr. Adam Wheatley and colleagues looked specifically at antibodies that worked by blocking the connection between the ‘peak’ on the outside of the coronavirus and the receptor in the body to which it attaches, known as an ACE-2 receptor.
They searched for antibodies specific for Covid-19, indicating that a person has already had the infection in the past.
In general, antibodies produce immunity to a virus because they are re-used the second time it enters the body.
But researchers are still unsure whether people can catch Covid-19 more than once or if they become immune after their first infection, because the virus has only been known to science since December.
Antibody studies, also known as seroprevalence studies, are considered critical to understanding how an outbreak has spread and can help make decisions.
People in their forties were least likely to have antibodies, while the highest rates were people over 50 and those between 20 and 40.
Experts said it’s important to keep in mind that the results can be distorted by the fact that blood donors are often young and healthy, so they don’t really represent the population.
According to The Times, The RKI said, “Due to the low prevalence of antibodies to Sars-CoV-2 in the sample we examined, we suspect that a large proportion of the population remains susceptible to infection.
“This means that as the transmission speed increases, a new wave of infections may emerge.”
The research storm hopes German people will be protected if the virus reappears in the fall or winter – which some scientists say will be the case, such as with the flu and colds.
The findings also collide with an early study that suggested up to 15 percent of the population was infected.
Research found that about one in six residents of Gangelt, in the Heinsberg district, was infected, and one-fifth of infected people showed no symptoms.
However, several experts criticized the fact that the study was made public before publication and expressed doubts about the statistical sampling method used in the study.
Antibody surveillance studies across Europe – once the heart of the pandemic – have produced mixed results.
Only one percent of Danes have had the coronavirus, according to blood samples analyzed by the National Health Service.
While researchers in Spain found that only five percent of the population was previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and built up antibodies.
Estimates of how many people have had the disease in England range from 6.89 percent (3.79 million) to 8.5 percent (4.67 million).
To gain “ herd immunity, ” experts say about 60 percent of people need the virus, and most countries are nowhere near it.
Other scientists claim that herd immunity to Covid-19 could develop if only 10 percent of the population contract the disease, if the people who become infected for the first time are socially active.
Herd immunity was the UK’s original strategy, not a strict closure, to remove the virus from the community.
But the government denied in March that it was ever their plan. It is controversial because thousands of people die as a result.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn believes a second wave in the country can be prevented if people remain vigilant
Although the level of antibodies discovered by the RKI and several other European health authorities is very low, there are likely other forms of immunity in the population that have not been taken into account.
Other types of immunity, such as those produced by white blood cells called T cells, form the first line of defense when the infection presents itself.
The Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden showed that many people with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 show what is known as T cell immunity to the disease.
This is even if they have not tested positive for antibodies to the virus.
The study would suggest that second-wave immunity among the population is higher than antibody testing suggests, Philip Thomas, a professor of risk management at the University of Bristol, told MailOnline.
“The point about the results of the Karolinska T cell is that the second wave can be a lot less serious, maybe only as big as the first peak, maybe twice as big, but ultimately manageable,” he said.
The German health minister believes that a second wave in the country can be prevented if people remain vigilant
Jens Spahn told a news conference on Monday: “We should try to avoid infections, especially during the holiday season.
‘We don’t automatically have to expect a second wave in the fall and winter. As a society we can prevent this together as before: breaking the wave and keeping the pandemic under control. ‘
Mr. Spahn said he was concerned about photos of German nationals ignoring parties and social distance practices in Mallorca, Spain, a popular tourist destination.
He said it is important for Germans to remain alert when traveling abroad.
“I understand the impatience, but where there are parties, the risk of infection is very high,” said Mr. Spahn.
The health minister also added that 15.5 million people installed the German CoronaWarn app and 500,000 people were tested for the disease last week, the highest since the pandemic began.