More than 40% of residents in an Austrian ski resort village have reportedly developed antibodies against the coronavirus. The BBC reports that the resort was once the epicentre of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak. Thousands of tourists became infected at the ‘Ischgl’ resort in early March.
Researchers from the Medical University of Innsbruck conducted antibody tests on almost 1 500 people, which, according to the BBC is roughly 79% of Ischgl’s population. Antibodies were found in 42,4% of those tested.
The director of the university’s Institute of Virology, Dorothee von Laer, said Ischgl had the highest prevalence of antibodies “ever proven in a study”. Although the percentage wasn’t large enough to assume herd immunity, von Laer added that, Ischgl’s population would probably be protected to a large extent.
According to The Scientific American, however, although recovered COVID-19 patients have antibodies for at least two weeks, long-term data was still lacking. It also reads, “Immunity to seasonal coronaviruses (such as those that cause common colds), starts declining a couple of weeks after infection. And within a year, some people are vulnerable to reinfection.”
Austria has recorded more than 17,000 infections and almost 700 deaths. The BBC reports that the numbers are relatively low for Europe.
Umm Muhammed Umar