Saturday 03 December 2022

Most blood donors have had coronavirus, research now shows


Almost four in five blood donors have coronavirus antibodies in their blood, compared with just one in five a year ago, before Omicron became the dominate strain, according to new figures from blood donation agency Sanquin.

In total, 90% of donors under the age of 25 have antibodies – indicating they have had the virus – as have 59% of the over 70s.

‘Omicron would appear to be more infectious but does not make people as ill,’ Sanquin doctor and microbiologist Hans Zaaijer said. ‘So we have been able to train our immune system in a relatively mild way over the summer… this is good news with winter on its way.’

Sanquin tested the blood of over 2,000 donors from all over the country for the research. The survey is not representative of the population as a whole but does give insight into the spread of the virus in some groups.

Autumn wave

Experts believe the Netherlands is now at the start of the long-awaited autumn wave.

The number of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital has risen sharply over the past seven days and positive tests are also going up, public health institute RIVM said in its weekly update on Tuesday.

Government figures also show that there was a case of coronavirus in one in five of the country’s nursing homes in the past week and there are signs that masks are making a come back in care institutions, according to nursing organisation V&VN.

However, as yet the government has said there is no need for any additional measures, as long as people continue to wash their hands, avoid busy places and get a booster vaccination.

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