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Slovenia to conduct random testing to determine scope of coronavirus infections

Ljubljana, 15 April - Slovenia will conduct random population testing to get a reliable estimate of the scope of the coronavirus epidemic. The trial will include antibody tests, Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the Institute for Microbiology and Immunology at the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine, told the press on Wednesday.

Ljubljana
Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, speaks to the press at a daily coronavirus briefing.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Ljubljana
Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, speaks to the press at a daily coronavirus briefing.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Ljubljana
Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, speaks to the press at a daily coronavirus briefing.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Ljubljana
Miroslav Petrovec, the head of the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, speaks to the press at a daily coronavirus briefing.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

A representative random sample of the population numbering between 1,000 and 1,500 people will be tested pending approval by the national commission for medical ethics. The test will presumably start next week, according to Petrovec.

The test, conducted nation-wide, will involve technicians visiting people at home and taking both nasal swabs to determine the presence of the virus SARS-COV-2 as well as conducting a serological test for antibodies.

That way, the health authorities will get a clearer picture of how many people have been infected and how many have antibodies, whose presence indicates that they had been in contact with the virus.

While random tests have been conducted in Austria and Iceland and are planned in Germany, Petrovec said Slovenia's would be the first such comprehensive test in Europe.

The preliminary results are expected before the May Day holidays and would inform government decisions on the easing of lockdown restrictions.

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© STA, 2020