Okinawa Prefectural Government to team with OIST in coronavirus antibody survey

July 21, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

On July 15, the Okinawa Chubu Central Hospital started collecting specimens for antibody surveys to be carried out by the Okinawa Prefectural Government in partnership with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) for a survey of the state of coronavirus infection in Okinawa. Upon obtaining the consent of patients arriving for emergency care, their blood will be tested for antibodies. The same will be carried out at the Public Kumejima Hospital. Collection of antibodies will start at prefectural hospitals in the northern and southern parts of Okinawa Island, Miyako, and Yaeyama as soon as approval is received from the ethics review committee.

By the end of fiscal 2020, 2,000 specimens are expected to be collected for each of three surveys at the five prefectural hospitals and one public hospital, so that the surveys will include a total of 6,000 specimens. The initial survey will be carried out in July and August.

OIST will be in charge of specimen measurement, and specialists from Kyoto University, Hokkaido University, and Kumamoto University will analyze the data. The state of infections in each region of Okinawa will be ascertained based on the analysis results, and this information will be leveraged in the Okinawa Prefectural Government’s subsequent measures to prevent the spread of infection.

Since some coronavirus cases are mild or symptomless, it is possible that many cases have gone unreported.

The antibody survey aims to check for the presence of immunity in order to discover the likelihood that one has been infected in the past and ascertain the actual state of infections.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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