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5,5 percent of blood donors living in the Netherlands have corona antibodies

5,5 percent of blood donors living in the Netherlands have corona antibodies

5,5 percent of blood donors living in the Netherlands have corona antibodies

Approximately 5,5 percent of blood donors in the Netherlands have antibodies against coronavirus. With this percentage, herd immunity is a long way off, according to Hans Zaaijer, professor and medical microbiologist at the Sanquin blood donation organisation. Achieving herd immunity would take about two years without a vaccine.

Still miles away from herd immunity

Sanquin conducted a survey of 7.000 volunteers who donated blood or plasma between May 10 and May 20 and the results revealed that around 5,5 percent of donors living in the Netherlands have antibodies against COVID-19.

"We have almost completed the research, but we are still working on a few final checks. The final percentage may therefore eventually be half a percent higher or lower," Zaaijer told NOS.

In order to achieve herd immunity, around 60 percent of the population would have to have had coronavirus and recovered from it. According to Zaaijer, this would take around two years. However, it has not actually been ascertained whether people with antibodies to the coronavirus will actually have long term immunity to it.

A valuable indication but not representative of the whole population

"We are still miles away from the scenario in which we achieve so-called herd immunity," he adds.  The study done on donors is a valuable indication on where the Netherlands stands in relation to coronavirus, however, Zaaijen stresses that this study is not representative of the population of the Netherlands.

RIVM does have a representative set of results, from the PIENTER study carried out in April, which showed that three percent of particpants in the RIVM study had antibodies. Either way, Zaaijen stresses that “a vaccine is needed.”

Rachel Deloughry

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Rachel Deloughry

With a bachelors degree from Munster Technological University in Ireland and a masters from Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, Rachel is a writer and editor passionate about culture and nature.

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