Results from the final stage of a nationwide antibody study show that some 5.2 per cent of the population in Spain has been exposed to the new coronavirus, health officials said on Monday, confirming findings from earlier stages.
The study, which has tested almost 70,000 people across Spain three times over the past three months, found that the prevalence of the virus had not significantly altered since preliminary results were published in May. It also suggested that immunity to the virus could be short-lived, with 14% of participants testing positive for antibodies in the first stage and then testing negative in the final stage.
“Immunity can be incomplete, it can be transitory, it can last for just a short time and then disappear,” said Dr Raquel Yotti, director of Spain’s Carlos III Health Institute, which co-led the study. Speaking at a news conference, she called on Spaniards to remain vigilant, particularly those who had recovered from the virus and were considered resistant.
Hit by one of the most severe outbreaks in the world, in mid-March Spain confined its population to their homes, gradually lifting the restrictions from May as the death rate fell. In early July, international borders were opened, giving the country’s struggling tourism sector a shot in the arm.