Danish COVID tally could be twice as high as recorded, blood donor data shows

People sit at Kaffesalonen (The Coffee Saloon) as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions ease, in central Copenhagen, Denmark April 21, 2021. REUTERS/Tim Barsoe/

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COPENHAGEN, Feb 3 (Reuters) – The number of Danish adults infected with COVID-19 could be double the official tally, Danish scientists said on Thursday, after publishing data suggesting that a third of the adult population has been infected within the last three months.

By screening blood donations for certain antibodies, Danish scientists say they have come closer to determining how many people are actually infected, following the emergence of the more infectious Omicron variant.

The preliminary research, conducted by the Nordic country’s leading infectious disease authority, the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), was based on analysis of 4,722 blood donations collected in mid-January.

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The blood was tested to see if it contained antibodies against the virus’s so-called nucleocapsid protein.

This type of antibody is only created when the body encounters the real coronavirus. It would not show up in blood samples from people who have never been infected, even if they have developed antibodies from vaccines.

“The results indicate that … the proportion of infected people who did not test positive represents between one-third and one-half of all infections,” SSI Director Henrik Ullum said in a statement.

This means that for every 100 recorded coronavirus infections, another 100 infections might go unreported.

According to official figures, 1.2 million infections have been recorded since November 1, around a fifth of the population. But that number includes infections and reinfections of children.

The SSI’s preliminary findings, which he said are subject to some uncertainty, could help authorities better predict the trajectory of the outbreak and shed light on population immunity, he said. .

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Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard Editing by Alexandra Hudson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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