Study estimates the prevalence of coronavirus antibodies in adult population

A new stage in the coronavirus prevalence study led by the University of Tartu researchers will start today. Based on the results of the study, an overview of the prevalence of coronavirus and antibodies to coronavirus in the adult population of Estonia will be given by 28 September.

According to Ruth Kalda, the head of the prevalence study and Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Tartu, the prevalence of antibodies to coronavirus in the adult population is an important indicator which helps to impose necessary rules to control the situation. Antibodies develop in the body as a result of the disease or after vaccination. “The current infection statistics continues to reflect a worrying increase in hospitalisation needs. The fastest and safest way to stop the increase is vaccination, because people who have not had the disease and have not been vaccinated are the most at risk of being hospitalised due to the coronavirus infection. The study stages conducted in summer revealed that about a third of the grownups had no antibodies to the virus,” said Kalda.

Participation in the study

About 2,500 random-sampled adult persons are invited to participate in the stage of the survey conducted from 15 to 27 September. The participants give a venous blood sample to determine antibodies to coronavirus, and a nasopharyngeal swab test. While in earlier stages of the study, mostly online interviews were conducted with the randomly sampled people, this time Kantar Emor organises telephone interviews to reduce the sample bias, which does not allow to make generalisations for the entire adult population.

The participants are sent a web link for registration to testing or they get a call from the Medicum and Synlab call centre to make an appointment for testing at a suitable testing site. The procedure takes about 10 minutes. Disabled or elderly people and other people with impaired mobility can request a testing team to test them at home.

The participants will be informed of the test results within three days. The results will also be entered in the patient portal. Persons who receive a positive test result will be contacted by the study team during two to four weeks to monitor the progress of the disease.

The study is carried out by a broad-based research group of the University of Tartu in cooperation with Synlab Eesti, Medicum and Kantar Emor.
For more information about the detection of Covid-19 antibodies, see the coronavirus testing website. For more information about the coronavirus prevalence study, see the University of Tartu website.

Further information: Ruth Kalda, Head of Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health, Professor of Family Medicine, University of Tartu, +372 5698 5599,