Professor Mantovani: “Serological tests are useful for assessing the prevalence and spread of the virus, but they do not give an immunity license”

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“I have been saying this for some time and the World Health Organization also supports it: these tests for the detection of antibodies to Sars-CoV 2 are a valuable tool for assessing the prevalence and spread of the virus and in some clinical conditions, but they do not give an immunity license. To date, we still do not know if the presence of a certain amount of antibodies is the indicator of an immune response that ensures protection against infection. ” Alberto Mantovani, 71 years old, internationally renowned immunologist, scientific director of Humanitas of Rozzano, Emeritus Professor at Humanitas University, says it to Corriere della Sera.

When asked about the immunity of those affected by Covid-19, the professor replies:

“For those who have really developed the disease, we can reasonably think that for a certain period, they will remain protected by Sars-CoV-2. Sars gave healers 2-3 years of immunity and this virus is related to them. The problem is that the vast majority of people who meet Covid-19 either do not get sick or do so in a mild way: in this case we do not know whether the induced immune response, of which the presence of antibodies is a spy, is truly protective or if these people risk a new infection. “

On the tests the professor reports his experience:

“They are useful for epidemiological investigations such as the one we concluded in Humanitas and made available to the scientific community, the first on a large scale in Italy, led by Professor Maria Rescigno. We tested 3985 doctors, nurses, administrative staff also in smart working, researchers, in the various Humanitas structures in the Lombardy region. It emerged that 11-13% of the staff came into contact with the coronavirus, without substantial differences between the categories: health workers, potentially exposed, compared to the rest of the population. It emerges that the hospital, if well protected, can be a safe place for patients and those who work, for this reason I invite the 10 million Italians who have different diseases like a tumor to return to the hospital for treatment. The data also show that the prevalence of positive for antibodies among the staff of the various structures is in line with the situation of the territory they belong to: from 3% of Humanitas Medical Care of Varese to 35- 43% of Humanitas in Bergamo, the most hit in Italy “.

As for the lesser force of the Mantovani virus, it is prudent: “We will think about it when someone will bring the evidence in the authoritative scientific journals – he says-. It is true that patients are much less serious, but the reasons can be many: past clinical experience, we have learned about the disease; the virus initially affected the weakest people, many of whom didn’t make it; today we behave better and in this way even the most fragile are more protected; finally, the diseases caused by respiratory viruses subside with spring and summer because we are more outdoors and at home we keep the windows open and the amount of exposure to the virus changes. “





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