"Corona Immunitas" in the canton of Bern
It is the first such measurement in the Bernese population. "Compared to other cantons, the seroprevalence - the frequency of antibodies in blood samples - is lower than that of the canton of Geneva with 22%, for example, which was measured there between November and December 2020," says Prof. Nicolas Rodondi from the University's Institute of Primary Health Care Bern. Comparisons should be carefully done, emphasizes Rodondi, since the measurements in other cantons were carried out at different times. "However, based on these preliminary findings, it can be concluded that vaccination appears to be a very important step in fighting this pandemic," says Rodondi. According to the researchers, themeasures taken by the cantonal governmentare still decisive for containing the epidemic.
The participants in the study are a representative sample of people aged 20 and over living in all five regions of the canton of Bern. As part of the national "Corona Immunitas" program, this random sample was generated by the Federal Statistical Office. In the canton of Bern, a total of 400 participants will be recruited by letter and telephone until the end of February 2021. Preliminary results are based on 263 adults included in the study who were recruited and consented between December 14, 2020 and January 20, 2021. Participants were either seen at the Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, or visited at home in remote areas by bus with a trained nurse and physician from the research team. The buses contain the necessary infrastructure for blood collection and for safe storage of the biological samples. All samples have been frozen and stored in the Inselspital biobank for future research projects.
The study will also provide a better understanding of whether the presence of antibodies protects against reinfection and whether this protection depends on the amount of antibodies produced. In addition, the results of the study will provide information on risk factors associated with infection, as well as on vaccination.