Study: More than 90% of adults in Estonia have antibodies against the coronavirus

The results of the most recent wave of the study on the prevalence of the coronavirus, led by the University of Tartu, reveal that the number of people who have antibodies against the coronavirus has reached record levels – 92% – yet the virus remains widespread among adults.

In this study wave, 2,236 adult residents were tested for the coronavirus; 5.1% of them tested positive and 3.3% were still infectious. This means nearly one in 30 adults is currently infectious, the University of Tartu said in a statement.

According to Ruth Kalda, the head of the prevalence study and a professor of family medicine at the university, these figures are rather similar to the results of the wave completed a month ago.

“The virus is relatively widespread. Most infected people have clear signs of illness, so it is worthwhile to do a rapid test even in case of milder symptoms and stay at home to prevent further virus spread,” Kalda said.

The vaccinated are the best protected

In this wave, 2.184 adults gave a blood sample to determine the level of antibodies against the coronavirus. Nearly 92% had the antibodies – this figure has improved by 3% over the past month.

According to Kalda, the result was expected as the number of infected people was very high during the previous study wave. In terms of antibodies, vaccinated people are the best protected – almost all of them have antibodies. Of those who have not been vaccinated but have recovered from the disease, 77% have antibodies.

Of those who have not been vaccinated and do not think they have caught the disease, 57% have antibodies. This figure has increased the most over the past month. According to Kalda, this confirms that the virus has been widely spreading, but the symptoms of the infected have been very mild.

A behavioural survey carried out with the study shows that people feel less and less threatened by the virus. There has been a slight reduction in the number of contacts with potentially infected people, but the vast majority of close contacts still do nothing to prevent the further spread of the virus, according to the study.

A visualisation of the COVID-19 virus (Unsplash).

Men more interested to get boosted than women

“The willingness to get a booster dose is higher in older age groups. Nearly half of the participants over 65 plan to get the third shot. Men are slightly more interested in getting the booster dose than women.”

The study on the prevalence of the coronavirus is carried out by a broad-based research group of the University of Tartu in cooperation with Synlab Eesti, Medicum and Kantar Emor.

The prevalence study is the only tool in Estonia to monitor the prevalence of the coronavirus in the adult population. The findings will help decision-makers make evidence-based decisions on using health-care resources for the health and well-being of Estonian citizens.

The study is commissioned by the Estonian government and funded by the European Regional Development Fund from the EU measure to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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