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Immunity to coronavirus is probably higher than tests have shown

Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 30, 2020
New research from Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital shows that many people with mild or asymptomatic coronavirus demonstrate so-called T-cell-mediated immunity to the new coronavirus, even if they have not tested positively for antibodies.
Karolinska University Hospital
Immunity   Karolinska University Hospital
According to the researchers, this means that public immunity is probably higher than antibody tests suggest.

The article is freely available on the bioRxiv server and has been submitted for publication in a scientific journal.

In the present study, the researchers performed immunological analyses of samples from over 200 people, many of whom had mild or no symptoms of coronavirus.

The study included inpatients at Karolinska University Hospital and other patients and their exposed asymptomatic family members who returned to Stockholm after holidaying in the Alps in March.

Healthy blood donors who gave blood during 2020 and 2019 (control group) were also included.

“Our results indicate that public immunity to COVID-19 is probably significantly higher than antibody tests have suggested,” says Professor Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren at the Center for Infectious Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, and co-senior author.

“If this is the case, it is of course very good news from a public health perspective.”