A German study in one of the hardest-hit regions of the country found an infection fatality rate five times lower than the national average, researchers said.
According to The National, an English-language newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, the Heinsberg Protocol study was conducted in Gangelt, a rural town where the Heisenberg region’s first fatalities from the virus occurred.
A team of virologists, led by Hendrik Streeck of University Hospital Bonn, discovered that 15 percent of the population in the town was infected, leading his researchers to a tentative conclusion that the death rate from the disease in the population they studied was only 0.37 percent.
Germany’s case fatality rate — which is a crude number that measures the number of deaths against all people diagnosed with a condition — was 2 percent as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Streeck and his team warned that the findings, which were preliminary, couldn’t necessarily be extrapolated to the entirety of Germany — much less the rest of the world — but the study gave new hope that the mortality rate for coronavirus could be much lower than the range of estimates currently being postulated.
The study used antibody tests on those it examined. Researchers were “hoping to test 1,000 people in the town and to date 85 per cent of them have given their permission to be tested,” The National reported Wednesday.
An antibody test — a relatively new development in the fight against coronavirus — detects if an individual has natural antibodies created by the body to fight the virus in their blood. If detected, it obviously means the individual has already been infected.