Denmark to test thousands for Covid-19 antibodies

Denmark to test thousands for Covid-19 antibodies
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
Around 18,000 randomly-selected people in Denmark are to be invited to take a test for coronavirus antibodies.

The testing is to be conducted by the State Serum Institute (SSI), the country’s infectious disease institute.

The testing is part of an effort to ascertain how many people in the country have been infected with the virus.

Latest figures from SSI show that 1,301,236 individuals in Denmark have been tested for Covid-19 since the epidemic reached Denmark. That is well over one-fifth of the population.

However, it is possible that people have had the virus without being tested, particularly at the beginning of the outbreak when testing was less widely available. Additionally, a negative result at the time of testing does not rule out having at the virus at a different time.

“The State Serum Institute and the (administrative) regions will now… invite a randomly selected group of residents to take a blood test to measure whether they have antibodies in their blood against the Covid-19 virus,” SSI said in a statement.

Covid-19 virus testing will be offered concurrently with antibody testing, to take a measure of the current levels of infection in society.

Denmark’s reopening programme, passed by parliament in the spring, includes provisions for regular spot checks of how many people in society are infected with the virus.


A similar testing programme in May suggested that 1.2 percent of the country’s population had been infected with coronavirus.

That May testing only took place in selected municipalities, however. This time the programme will encompass the entire country.

Selected Denmark residents will be contacted during the next three weeks. The first tests will take place next week.

“We hope that many will accept this offer and be tested so that we can get a better idea of how much of the population has actually be affected by the epidemic so far,” SSI senior researcher Steen Ethelberg said.

“By combining antibody testing with the test for current infection, we hope to make participation more attractive,” Ethelberg added.

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  1. “A similar testing programme in May suggested that 1.2 percent of the country’s population had been infected with coronavirus.”

    Interesting. Back in May, I read that the antibody testing program had been abandoned because 40% of those “randomly-selected people” invited to participate had failed to take part. Glad to hear that they actually analyzed what data they did get.

    But I know more than one individual who suspects that they would test positive for antibodies, yet that earlier study — and it sounds like this new one, too — refused to accept volunteers. So it seems as if the SSI is more interested in developing statistics (via “randomly” selected) than in actually helping people to determine whether they might be immune.


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