Corona: 15% of the Lucerne population have antibodies

In the canton of Lucerne, 15% of the adult population were infected with the coronavirus and developed antibodies against SARS-Cov-2. These are the preliminary results of the national «Corona Immunitas» study, which is coordinated by the «Swiss School of Public Health» and carried out in the canton of Lucerne by the University of Lucerne in cooperation with the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital (LUKS).

Collected blood samples are ready for the analysis (picture: «Corona Immunitas»)

The research program investigates how many people in the canton of Lucerne have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus. For this purpose, the Sars-CoV2 immunity in the Swiss population is determined using antibody tests. With this procedure, the proportion of people who have come into contact with the virus and the proportion of infected people without symptoms can be estimated. 

Based on a random sample selected by the Federal Statistical Office, 200 adults in two age groups (20–64 years; 65+ years) were invited to participate in the study. Test results of 309 study participants from the canton of Lucerne have already been analyzed and a representative estimate for the total population of those aged 20 years and older can be derived from this. These initial results show that only 15% of adult Lucerne residents have become infected with the coronavirus and have developed antibodies.

22% in the canton of Geneva

This is the first measurement in the Lucerne population. Compared to other cantons, the seroprevalence – the frequency of antibodies in blood samples – is lower than that of the canton of Geneva with 22%, which was measured there between last November and December. However, these values should be used cautiously, as the measurements in other cantons were carried out at different times. Nonetheless, based on these preliminary findings, it can be concluded that vaccination appears to be a very important step in combating this pandemic. 

The participants in the study are a representative sample of people aged 20 years and older who live in the canton of Lucerne. As part of the national «Corona Immunitas» program, this random sample was generated by the Federal Statistical Office. In the canton of Lucerne, a total of 400 participants will be recruited by the end of February. These preliminary results are based on 309 adult study participants who enrolled in the study and participated in the blood sampling between January 25 and February 25. The blood samples were taken at the three locations of the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital (Lucerne, Sursee and Wolhusen). 

On tour with the specially constructed «Corona Immunitas» bus

In order to enable people at risk to participate in the study, the research team visited them with a specially constructed bus. The buses contain the necessary infrastructure for blood sampling and for the safe storage of biological samples. Important protective measures are followed (insulation apron, mask, gloves and large-scale disinfection). All samples were evaluated in the test center of the CHUV (Center hospitalier universitaire vaudoise). The study aims to also provide a better understanding of whether the presence of antibodies protects against re-infection, and whether this protection depends on the amount of antibodies produced. In addition, the results of the study will provide information on the risk factors associated with infection, and with regard to vaccination.

News release on the launch of the test (5th February)