Dutch study suggests 3 per cent of population may have coronavirus antibodies

A health worker runs a test for antibodies in Oss, The Netherlands, on April 15, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

AMSTERDAM (REUTERS) - A study of Dutch blood donors has found that around 3 per cent have developed antibodies against the new coronavirus, health authorities said on Thursday (April 16), an indication of what percentage of the Dutch population may have already had the disease.

The head of the National Institute for Health (RIVM), Professor Jaap van Dissel, disclosed the results during a debate in Parliament.

"This study shows that about 3 per cent of Dutch people have developed antibodies against the coronavirus," Prof van Dissel said. "You can calculate from that, it's several hundred thousand people" in a country of 17 million.

There are 28,158 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands, but only the very ill and healthcare workers are currently being tested.

The blood donation service Sanquin announced it would begin testing on 10,000 samples weekly on March 19, but later said it would only disclose results to the RIVM.

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