“It is a national analysis of a sample of 150,000 people that will allow us to understand exactly what happened in the country on the spread of the new coronavirus. Knowing the epidemic is an important way to better deal with it and to overcome it,” said the minister della Salute Roberto Speranza visiting the operational center from where calls to citizens have been made since yesterday for the seroprevalence investigation of the Ministry of Health and Istat.At work, it is learned from CRI, there are over 700 volunteer operators, who have received training in the past few weeks. There are 21 operational call centers, one in each region, to which a national support center is added. Lombardy will register the highest number of citizens contacted, equal to over 30 thousand. Veneto follows (13 thousand); Emilia Romagna (12 thousand); Campania, Lazio and Sicily (over 11 thousand); Piedmont (10 thousand) and to follow the other Regions, up to the Aosta Valley where over 4 thousand citizens will be contacted. The sample, processed with Istat, is identified on the basis of gender and divided into 6 age groups, by region and work activity. CRI operators will be engaged in the home collection and outpatient phases, but in the regions of Lazio, E.R., Piedmont, Molise and the autonomous province of Bolzano they will only deal with home collection.
The national epidemiological investigation is aimed at estimating the number of people who have developed antibodies to SarsCov2 and aims to photograph the spread of the virus on the territory. The procedure should last approximately 15 days but already after the first 20 thousand units analyzed, it will be possible to anticipate the trend of spread of the virus on the national territory. To have a first epidemiological photograph, therefore, you will not have to wait long: “There is an anticipatory sample of about 20 thousand units, without waiting for all 150 thousand tests to be processed. On a first part of the data collected, we will therefore be able to provide advances “, explains the president of Istat – who coordinates the investigation together with the Ministry of Health and with the support of CRI – Gian Carlo Blangiardo. The anticipating sample currently has the purpose of quickly providing information and better recalibrating the investigation with small interventions if necessary.
In total, the CRI will contact approximately 190 thousand citizens to guarantee the expected 150 million sample. Participation is not mandatory but a broad response is expected, says Istat. How many will be positive will be subjected to a buffer and the goal is also to understand how many are asymptomatic. Regarding the expected result, the president of Istat points out that a test experience “more or less similar to ours has had in Spain recently. And in the end the incidence was around 5% on average”. “The serological investigation will be a fundamental tool to define the epidemic evolution – underlined the president of the Superior Council of Health Franco Locatelli – but it does not confer an immunity license at all. We still know too little the response of our immune system and how much this answer will last. ” The study, the scientific director of the Spallanzani Institute Giuseppe Ippolito also noted, “will give a real picture of the situation. It is estimated that at most we will find 5% positive in Italy; in Sicily and Sardinia less than 2%. This – he concluded – it will be useful for epidemiological purposes, not for the individual “.