COVID-19: one in ten people from Ticino have come into contact with the virus

COVID-19: one in ten people from Ticino have come into contact with the virus

17 July 2020

Initial results of the serology study conducted using tests donated by IBSA

One in ten people living in Ticino have come into contact with the virus. This is the result obtained from the first phase of the seroprevalence study into the SARS-CoV-2 virus promoted by the Medical Office of the Canton in collaboration with the Medical Order of the Canton of Ticino. The result was obtained in part thanks to the excellent performance of the serology tests donated by IBSA to conduct the screening (read more here)

Among the results obtained during the first phase of the study, it is noted that the seroprevalence of the Ticino population was 9% about five weeks after the first wave of the epidemic and there were no statistically significant differences in seroprevalence when comparing sex and age. An analysis of the test results also showed a good match between people positive for both nasopharyngeal swab (PCR) and rapid serology (immunochromatography) tests. Finally, one in six people with compatible symptoms (without nasopharyngeal swabs) had measurable antibodies, while five out of 100 asymptomatic people were positive in serology testing.

In order to estimate the spread of the new coronavirus in the Ticino population, a study has been set up which will have a total duration of 12 months, split into four time points (May, August and November 2020 and May 2021). Measurement of the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus is detected using the rapid immunochromatography tests donated by IBSA. In addition to having good sensitivity and specificity, the tests are simple to use and provide a rapid result. In light of recent epidemiological developments, it will be crucial to obtain data for the next phase of testing in August.

“This testing programme is crucial to counteract a possible resurgence of the virus,” said Tiziano Fossati, Head of R&D Pharmaceutical at IBSA. “The Canton is one of the first places in Europe to present the results of a COVID serology study. The most critical thing in combatting a pandemic is to be able to track the course of contagion and establish effective predictive models so that the necessary actions can be anticipated and the most appropriate measures can be taken. This is why we've joined the initiative with enthusiasm and are always ready and willing to do everything in our power to help the communities that host us and the people who live in the area.”

Following approval from the Ethics Committee, a random and representative sample of 1,500 people aged five and over and resident in Ticino were invited to take part in the study: 984 people responded positively to the invitation, 929 actually participated and 927 were included in the study. Participants were able to rely on an extensive network of 118 GPs who volunteered to collect data, perform tests and communicate the results.

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