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Moscow to launch mass virus immunity testing

/ 02:22 PM May 15, 2020
russia virus mass testing

Costumers wearing protective masks shop in a supermarket in Moscow on May 13, 2020, amid the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. – To avoid the escalation of the number of infections, the city authorities have made it mandatory to wear gloves and a masks on public transport, shops and other pubic places, on pain of a fine of 5,000 rubles (about 63 euros). (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)

Clinics in Moscow, the epicenter of Russia’s coronavirus epidemic, will begin mass random testing of residents for coronavirus antibodies on Friday, the mayor said.

The free and voluntary testing will “show the real picture” of the epidemic’s stage, since many people may have had the virus without knowing it, Sergei Sobyanin told state television.

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“Every three days we will send out 70,000 invitations to Moscow residents” to have their blood drawn at clinics, he said.

On his official website, Sobyanin said mass random testing was important to gauge when to further ease containment measures, which were ordered in the Russian capital in late March and last to the end of this month.

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“This is unique, this type of work hasn’t been done anywhere in the world, we are the first,” Sobyanin said.

Residents will be invited by text message or email to one of 30 Moscow clinics after being selected at random to get their blood drawn for the IFA (immunofluorescence) testing for antibodies.

The results will let the authorities “know for certain how many Muscovites have had the coronavirus and gained immunity, and how many are infected or suspected of having the coronavirus,” the mayor said.

Over 130,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Moscow, more than half of Russia’s total cases. But Sobyanin said the real spread is “much higher, and our goal is to find the maximum of cases.”

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, COVID-19 antibodies, mass testing, Moscow, Russia
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