Dutch have one million tests to check for coronavirus immunity

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Netherlands has a million blood tests at its disposal to find out if people have immunity to coronavirus, blood bank organisation Sanquin has confirmed.

The tests were ordered together with the health ministry from China and measure three different types of antibodies, which makes them extra useful, the government’s testing representative Feike Sijbesma told broadcaster NOS.

The tests will enable researchers to look at how the virus has moved through the population and through different population groups.

‘What you cannot do is look at an individual level who can go back to work and who can’t,’ Sijbesma said. ‘Because it is likely that 95% of the population have not had the virus and don’t have antibodies.’

The extra tests are an additional part of Sanquin’s ongoing research into the spread of herd immunity in the Netherlands and can also have a role in the relaxation of the current anti-coronavirus regulations.

The tests will first be applied to the blood of some 7,000 donors to find out if people have high levels of antibodies in their blood. In that case they will be asked to donate more, Sanquin said.


Health minister Hugo de Jonge has also denied that local health boards (GGDs) are not ready to carry out more source and contact research as the government moves to lift the partial lockdown.

Primary schools and daycare centres will reopen on May 11 and officials have said that increased tracking is key to ensuring this can be done safely.

Research by NOS showed that the 24 regional health boards have not come up with a national plan to expand their capacity to carry out more tracking.

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