One of the largest antibody studies against SARS-CoV-2 in Germany has begun at the university hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar at Technical University of Munich (TUM). The employee study is intended to provide data on the stability of antibodies over two years and thereby help in identifying starting points for the further improvement of protective measures for both employees and patients.
The new antibody study examines blood samples taken from employees at the Klinikum rechts der Isar at TUM and associated scientific institutes at TUM. Approximately 7,000 employees can voluntarily participate in the prospective cohort study.
The objective of the study is to determine the specific antibody status for SARS-CoV-2 and its stability over two years. A questionnaire will be used to ascertain the infection risks which the employees of the hospital have been exposed to, both at COVID-19 wards and normal wards or in other areas, such as logistics or administration. The results of the study will provide important information on employee protection and will make it possible to optimize the extensive protective measures for patients and staff in German hospitals.
"As we expect additional waves of the pandemic, the investigations will be conducted several times during its course," explains Percy Knolle, Professor of Molecular Immunology at TUM. He is leading the study in collaboration with Prof. Paul Lingor, Senior Physician at the TUM Neurological Clinic. "We will perform a total of four examinations every six months within a period of two years," says Prof. Knolle.
The specific immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after surviving an infection will make it possible to estimate how long the antibodies can protect against renewed infection. At the present time, the data on this are still scarce worldwide. Prof. Lingor explains: "We hope that we can motivate as many of the employees at the Klinikum rechts der Isar as possible to take part in this important investigation. The actual personally-identifiable results of the serological testing are, of course, only communicated to the employees themselves."