Germany, like many other countries, is looking for a way out of the COVID-19 crisis. With both people and economies suffering, the German city of Berlin is planning an “exit strategy” in the form of “Coronavirus Antibody Certificates” that are to be issued to people who’ve recovered from the virus.
The goal of this certificate is for people to slowly start exiting their quarantines when they’ve tested positive for the presence of coronavirus antibodies.
These “immunity certificates” can result in a rather swift boost to the economy.
People who have recovered from the disease have antibodies in their systems. Those are the antibodies our immune systems produce to both fight off the disease and to make us immune to getting sick with COVID-19 again.
Testing for the disease’s antibodies will be as tricky as testing for the disease itself but the researchers plan to start testing 100,000 people at a time and to issue certificates to those who’ve tested positive for the virus’s antibodies.
There are two main positives to this strategy:
- A continuous increase of people rejoining the workforce.
- A rapid influx of information regarding the state of the disease and people’s immunity to it, allowing politicians to better plan when and how they are going to end the lockdown.
These coronavirus antibody certificates are the research project of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany. They’ve been working on blood tests to look for the presence of antibodies for weeks, as the German magazine Der Spiegel reports.
The epidemiologist leading the project, Dr. Gerard Krause said in front of the magazine that “Those who are immune can then be given a vaccination certificate that would, for example, allow them to be exempt from any (lockdown-related) restrictions on their work,”
The test developed by the Helmholtz Centre is a variation of previous blood tests that were able to detect the presence of some coronaviruses’ antibodies but not for those of COVID-19.
It should be mentioned that the final approval of the project is expected to happen sometime in April. If and when it works, it will be yet another victory for Germany’s healthcare system that’s proving to handle the virus better than most.
Currently, Germany has the 4th highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world (81,728) but they are boasting one of the lowest deaths percentages of 1.21% with 997 victims as of April 2.
For comparison, the three countries with higher number of cases at the same time are the U.S. with 216,722 cases and 5,140 fatalities (2.3%), Italy with 110,574 cases and 13,155 fatalities (11.9%), and Spain with 110,238 cases and 10,003 fatalities (9%).
Germany’s National Healthcare System is widely praised as one of the best in the world and these numbers support their case. A German military plane was even sent to eastern France recently to take COVID-19 patients from there to treat them in Germany. There are patients from northern Italy that are being treated in Germany as well.