Nationwide coronavirus antibody test in Israel to assess herd immunity and vulnerability to 2nd wave

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Israel, whose aggressive response to the coronavirus has held its fatality rate to a fraction of those of the United States and other hard-hit nations, is readying a nationwide serological test of 100,000 citizens to see how widely the virus has spread across its population and how vulnerable it may be to a new wave of the contagion.

The survey, to be conducted at clinics run by Israeli H.M.O.s  … is one of the largest efforts yet to determine the prevalence of antibodies to Covid-19. …

Even more important, officials said, the survey’s findings could spur preparations for any strong resurgence of the virus, perhaps when hospitals and health clinics are also busy with seasonal influenza.

Officials say they hope the survey will identify the portion of the healthy population that has not yet been exposed to the virus, and the portion that has already been exposed but has developed antibodies to it. The answers could have enormous implications for a country’s capacity to withstand a new wave of the virus.

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