Rome, May 11 – The first calls to the 150,000 people selected in Italy to undergo serological tests to see if they
have specific coronavirus antibodies will be made in the next 24-48 hours.
The results of the tests will shed light on what the impact of the virus has been on the population and make it possible to make a statistical estimate of COVID-19 contagion in Italy.
The intention is to subsequently extend the analysis via the so-called immunity test, the launch of which was held up by a problem linked to privacy but the question was resolved by recommendations from the privacy ombudsman.
Indeed, the green light for the survey of 150,000 people conducted by the Health Ministry and statistics agency ISTAT came after Health Minister Roberto Speranza made the requested privacy changes to the relevant decree.
Red Cross Personnel.
The mechanism for the study features a call centre made up of 300 Red Cross personnel, who will start calling the people inserted into the survey and start taking the first blood samples.
The laboratories that will analyse the samples in each region have been chosen too.
Therefore, people will be contacted via telephone.
Blood Tests at Home.
Those considered most fragile will be able to give the blood sample at home.
The test will be free and the people tested will be informed of the results.
If it is positive, a swab will be taken to confirm.
The Italian Red Cross will deliver the samples collected to the biological bank of the L. Spallanzani National Infective Diseases Institute.
The treatment of the samples and of the data will be exclusively for scientific research.
The tests will make it possible to “take a snapshot of the state of health of the Italian people exclusively with respect to COVID-19” said Health Undersecretary Sandra Zampa.
“The sampling will confirm what the scientists say, which is that 80% of the population has not come into contact with the virus”.
In the meantime six regions (the first was Veneto and Lazio started Monday) have launched separate serological testing campaigns.
The 150,000 national sample (with tests from Abbott, which won the tender, providing them free) will be representative in regional terms and then on the basis of sex, age and economic activity, bearing in mind sectors that are most exposed, such as the health sector.
In total 200 municipalities will be involved: the broad territorial basis will make it possible to reduce the margin of
statistic error, according to ISTAT.