We have been crying out for serological population studies for the current coronavirus epidemic which can greatly help properly inform governments, health professionals and the populace on the spread of the virus and the appropriate measures to take.
Whilst such a study is being undertaken by the UK authorities at “NHS Porton Down” (with 3500 tests a week being performed) the results have not yet been published.
Now the interim results of a new study have been published with regards to a small area badly effected by coronavirus in Gangelt a district in Heinsberg in Germany.
As a lot of people are having problems uploading this important document from the original source we have found a copy of the document using a pdf search and have uploaded that pdf to our website and it is now available (in the original German here:
An (amateur) English translation is provided below:
Preliminary results and conclusions of the COVID-19 case cluster study (Gangelt municipality)
Prof. Dr. Hendrik Streeck (Institute of Virology)
Prof. Dr. Gunther Hartmann (Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical
Pharmacology, spokesman for the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation2)
Prof. Dr. Martin Exner (Institute for Hygiene and Public Health)
Prof. Dr. Matthias Schmid (Institute for Medical Biometry, Computer Science and Epidemiology)
University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, April 9, 2020
Background: The community of Gangelt is one of the places in Germany worst affected by COVID-19. It is believed that infection originated from a carnival on February 15, 2020, because several people tested SARS-CoV-2 positive after this event. The carnival and the outbreak of the session is currently examined more closely. A representative survey from the community Gangelt (12,529 inhabitants) in the district of Heinsberg was taken. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a protocol according to which, depending on expected prevalence, 100 to 300 households are examined randomly. This survey was coordinated with its representative Prof. Manfred Güllner (Forsa).
Goal: The goal of the study is to establish the level of completed and active
SARS-CoV-2 infections (percentage of all infected) in the Gangelt community. In addition, the level of current SARS-CoV-2 immunity can be determined.
Procedure: A form letter was sent to approximately 600 households. Overall approx. 1,000 inhabitants from approx. 400 households took part in the study. Questionnaires were collected, throat swabs taken and blood tested for the presence of antibodies (IgG, IgA). Included in this first evaluation are the intermediate results and conclusions from approx. 500 people.
Preliminary result: An existing immunity of approx. 14% (antiSARS-CoV-2 IgG positive, specificity of the method>, 99%) was determined. About 2% of the individuals had a currently active SARS-CoV-2 determined using the PCR method. The infection rate (current infection or already completed) was a total of approx. 15%. The lethality (case fatality rate) based on the total number of infected in the community of Gangelt, based on the preliminary data from this study is about 0.37%. Currently, the calculated lethality in Germany from Johns-Hopkins University is 1.98% which is 5 times higher. The mortality based on the total population in Gangelt is currently 0.15%.
Preliminary conclusion: The lethality calculated by Johns-Hopkins University which five times higher than in this study in Gangelt, is explained by the different reference size of the infected. This study identifies all infected people in the sample, including those with asymptomatic and mild symptoms. In Gangelt, the proportion of the population that already has developed immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is approximately 15%. This means that 15% of the population in Gangelt can no longer be infected with SARS-CoV-2, and the process towards herd immunity is already taking place. This 15 percent of the population reduces the speed (net number of reproductions R in epidemiological models) of a further spread of SARS-CoV-2 accordingly.
By adhering to stringent hygiene measures, it can be expected that the
virus concentration during an infection event of a person can be reduced so far as to result in less severe illness and simultaneous development of immunity. These favorable conditions are not possible with an exceptional outbreak event (superspreading event, e.g. carnival session, apres ski bar Ischgl). With hygiene measures, favorable effects with regard to the overall mortality can also be expected.
We therefore strongly recommend the implementation of the proposed four-phase strategy of the German Society for Hospital Hygiene (DGKH). This provides the following model:
Phase 1: Social quarantine with the aim of containment and slowing the pandemic and avoiding overloading the critical supply structures, in particular the health care system
Phase 2: Beginning withdrawal of quarantine whilst simultaneously
ensuring hygienic framework conditions and behavior.
Phase 3: Removal of the quarantine while maintaining the
Phase 4: Return of public life to that before the COVID-19 pandemic
(Status quo ante).
(DGKH statement can be found here:
Note: These results are preliminary. The final results of the
study will be published and presented to the public as soon as these are