DeCode Genetics to Study Actual Spread of Coronavirus

Vala Hafstað

DeCode Genetics plans to research the actual spread in Icelandic society of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Morgunblaðið reports. The company’s CEO, Kári Stefánsson, states that the study will be similar to the one that was done in April of 2020. He believes the virus to be widespread.

A random sample of people in the capital area will participate in the study. So many people are believed to have been infected that a sample of 500-1,000 people is deemed sufficient. Participants will be contacted and asked to come to the building Turninn in Kópavogur for screening. The success of the study depends on people’s willingness to participate. The sooner people arrive for testing, the sooner the results will be ready.

The plan is for the same individuals to be screened again in a month to see if the spread of the virus has changed.

“We’re looking for an answer to the question, How widespread is the virus?” Kári states. “If you’re infected and have minor or no symptoms, then it’s hard to detect. When we explored this in 2020, twice as many people turned out to have been infected than PCR tests indicated.”

The study is more complicated than the one done in 2020, since vaccines trigger the formation of antibodies against the spike protein of the coronavirus, making them present in those who have been vaccinated or infected. What deCode Genetics plans to do is measure antibodies against the nucleoprotein of the virus, for they only develop in the body if you get infected.

“The result of this study could prove important for authorities in charge of disease prevention,” Kári notes.

All 250 employees of deCode Genetics were screened for the coronavirus Monday a week ago. They all tested negative.

“As I’ve said before, this disease is partly a behavioral disease,” Kári explains. “How you behave does to a large extent determine whether you get infected. I believe the result of the screening done Monday last week is proof that those who work here are odd and introvert people, who do not interact with many others.”

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