German researchers to issue coronavirus ‘immunity certificates’ based on antibodies

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (Reuters)

German researchers in the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig are planning to introduce coronavirus ‘immunity certificates’ to facilitate the transition of recovered coronavirus patients out of quarantine and into society.

The researchers’ project investigates the prevalence of the coronavirus antibodies. The study’s framework states that “after an infection with the coronavirus, patients have antibodies against the pathogen in their blood. These are retained over a long period of time and are an indication for a past infection.”

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Blood will be regularly tested for antibodies against the COVID-19 pathogen.

The antibodies will indicate that the tested participants in the study have had the virus, have recovered and are therefore ready to re-enter society. The researchers plan to test 100,000 subjects starting from April, and hopefully issue documentation to those who have recovered from the virus.

The researchers assume that patients who recovered from the COVID-19 disease cannot be re-infected with the virus, as no data is currently available on whether there is an “unrecognized COVID-19 immunity in the population beyond the infections recorded.”

They aim to provide a more accurate picture of immunity to coronavirus and the pandemic’s development.

“Immune individuals could be issued with a kind of vaccination certificate, which would allow them to be exempted from restrictions on their activities, for example,” said Professor Gérard Krause, head of the HZI Department of Epidemiology, to the German news outlet SPIEGEL.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:06 - GMT 07:06
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