As we all know, Italy had confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in February 2020, and officials were ready to take measurements. A small town from there, called Vo, has taken the most drastic measurements. The mayor ordered a lockdown, and the whole town – of 3.270 people – got tested. Roads were closed, and no one entered or left the town. Now, almost two years later, this little town is still helping scientists understanding more about this virus.
Back in May 2020, the population of the little town was tested again for antibodies. The results were precise: 3.5% of the population – that’s around 100 people – had been infected in the past. They tested again in November 2020, and they have found out that 98.9% of the people who tested positive in May still had some antibodies in their organism – they lasted for at least six months.
The lead author of the study, Ilaria Dorigatti, stated:
“We found no evidence that antibody levels between symptomatic and asymptomatic infections differ significantly, suggesting that the strength of the immune response does not depend on the symptoms and the severity of the infection. […] This means that caution is needed when comparing estimates of infection levels in a population obtained in different parts of the world with different tests and at different times.”
People didn’t know they were infected until they got tested. They have also tested the family members of those infected to see how likely it is for a person to infect someone else. They learned that 79% of the transmissions were caused by 20 people.
With the new variants now in the UK, people need to improve control strategies, such as widespread testing and digital contract tracing.