Ukrainian Red Cross took part in the all-Ukrainian study on the prevalence of antibodies to the SARS-COV-2Надія Михайленко
For the first time in Ukraine, a study was conducted to determine the number of people with antibodies to the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 – pathogen COVID-19. Thus, according to preliminary results, at least 40% of Ukrainians have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2*. This study was conducted with the support of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and the World Bank, and coordinated by the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
Preliminary research results indicate that, as of June-July 2021, 40.5% of study participants detected ‘’detectable’’ IgG antibodies to one of the proteins of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (RBD domain of S1 protein). If this indicator is extrapolated to the entire population of Ukraine, it is likely to be in the range from 39.3% to 41.7% (95% confidence interval).
This should be deliberated as the minimum proportion of Ukrainians who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 since the beginning of the pandemic. The actual number is somewhere larger because the study results are impacted by the following factors:
- some people at certain periods after infection do not have antibodies to the RBD domain of S1 protein, but have antibodies to other proteins – this will be further assessed in the study;
- due to the possible short-term circulation of antibodies in some people who had COVID-19, they may have disappeared by the time of the study;
- the antibodies level could be too low for detection by laboratory methods, or they are at the level, which is lower for the time of a particular test system.
The full study report will be ready and presented in September 2021.
From June 7 to July 9, 2021, data collection for the study continued. For 5 weeks, 54 mobile teams worked in all regions of Ukraine, conducting blood sampling and interviewing Ukrainians about their experience with COVID-19, behavior during a pandemic, compliance with quarantine standards, as well as socio-demographic factors that may affect the getting infected, and more.
6,398 healthy adults were randomly selected to interview and collect suitable blood samples. One-third of the study participants live in rural areas, one-third – in regional centers, another third – in other cities and towns.
In total, 154 interviewers, 168 health workers, 87 workers and Red Cross volunteers joined the data collection. 129 health facilities were involved in the centrifugation and storage of blood samples.
* The presence of antibodies to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 indicates that the person has previously been in contact with the virus, but is not a sign of the disease. Detection of antibodies does not guarantee immunity to all strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus and is not a reason to refuse vaccination. It is unknown at this time what the level of antibodies to protect should be and how long they last.