BERLIN, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Germany has started a large-scale antibody study with 34,000 adult volunteers to investigate the spread of COVID-19, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) said Thursday.
Samples and research data are to be collected until the end of December in order to provide "first meaningful results on the antibody status for all of Germany," according to a joint press release by DIW and the RKI, the federal agency for disease control and prevention.
"The study will further complete our picture of the SARS-CoV-2 situation in Germany until now," said RKI president Lothar Wieler. It will "assess how the social situation and living conditions of people and the risk of SARS Cov-2 infection are related."
The volunteers will provide a mouth-nose swab and a sample of a small amount of blood from the finger, according to the statement. The RKI laboratories will then investigate whether an acute infection is existent and whether antibodies against COVID-19 can be detected.
New COVID-19 infections have been increasing in Germany since the end of July. Daily cases in the country went up by 2,503 over the past 24 hours to 291,722 on Thursday, according to the RKI.
The RKI is currently conducting a further study for four towns in Germany which were heavily affected by COVID-19. In one of the former COVID-19 hotspots, 7.7 percent of citizens showed antibodies against the coronavirus, while in another town, 6.0 percent of the adult population had positive antibodies.
However, most of the results were not generally transferable to other towns or even all of Germany. Nevertheless, the results were "meaningful and informative" in order to answer some "urgent questions," for example, about the causes of dynamic infection processes, said Claudia Santos-Hoevener, head of the study at RKI, when presenting the latest results. Enditem