‘Immunity passports’ could speed up return to work after Covid-19

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“Immunity passports” for key workers could be a way of getting people who have had coronavirus back into the workforce more quickly, scientists and politicians in the UK have suggested.

Researchers in Germany are currently preparing a mass study into how many people are already immune to the Covid-19 virus, allowing authorities to eventually issue passes to exclude workers from restrictive measures currently in place.

The study, which is yet to finalise funding, would involve testing the blood of more than 100,000 volunteers for coronavirus antibodies from mid-April. The test would then be repeated at regular intervals on an accumulatively larger sample of the population, to track the pandemic’s progress.

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The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “Germany appears to be leading the way in the testing and we have much to learn from their approach. I’ve repeatedly called for more testing and contact tracing in the UK, and we should be looking at initiatives like this closely.”

The results of the German study, organised by the government’s public health body, the Robert Koch Institute, the German Centre for Infection Research, the Institute for Virology at Berlin’s Charite hospital and blood donation services, would make it easier to decide when and where schools in the country could reopen, and which people are safe to go back to work.

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“We project that roughly 56 percent of our population – 25.5 million people – will be infected with the virus over an eight week period,” Governor Newsom of California wrote on 3/19/2020.

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