Corona in Sweden: Every fifth person in Stockholm is said to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies

Corona in Sweden: Every fifth person in Stockholm is said to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies

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Sweden tests population for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies

People in Sweden who are between 20 and 64 years old are most likely to have Covid 19 compared to people in other age groups. Sweden's chief virologist Anders Tegnell, based on initial results of sample tests among the population, believes that around one in five people in Stockholm, Sweden's capital, have already developed antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The Swedish Health Office is currently randomly testing blood samples from the Swedish population taken in the spring of 2020 for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. The preliminary result for week 18, which can be viewed on the website of the Public Health Authority of Sweden, shows that a total of 7.3 percent of blood samples from people in Stockholm have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The share was lower in other regions of Sweden, for example 4.2 percent in Skåne and 3.7 percent in Västra Götaland.

Was every fifth person in Stockholm infected with SARS-CoV-2?

In a press conference, Sweden's chief virologist Anders Tegnell emphasized that the real proportion of people who have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in Stockholm should already be over 20 percent, since the figures in the study state the pandemic at the time of the beginning April reflect. It takes a few weeks for the body's immune system to develop antibodies, which is why the proportion is likely to be much higher today.

Samples are supposed to better depict coronavirus processing

The Swedish Health Authority is currently testing blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, taken from nine regions of Sweden, from Jämtland, Jönköping, Kalmar, Skåne, Stockholm, Uppsala, Västerbotten, Västra Götaland and Örebro. In the present interim result, 1,104 samples were taken that were taken by week 18 of 2020.

Young and old people were less affected

The analysis also shows that people between 20 and 64 years of age most frequently had antibodies against Covid-19. Overall, 6.7 percent of the samples in this group were positive. In the age group from 0 to 19 years only 4.7 percent of the samples contained antibodies and in the age group from 65 to 70 years it was only 2.7 percent. As schools have not been closed in Sweden, this indicates that SARS-CoV-2 is less common among children and adolescents.

Sweden is going its own way through the pandemic

In contrast to most other countries, Sweden is taking a special route in the coronavirus pandemic. The country mainly relies on the personal responsibility of its citizens and did not impose any major exit restrictions. Cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and schools for children under 16 also remained open.

Everything has it's price

The Swedes earned both admiration and criticism for the idiosyncratic way. With almost 33,000 infected and around 4,000 deaths, Sweden exceeds the infection and deaths of all other Scandinavian countries. The mortality rate in Sweden in recent weeks has also been significantly higher than that of neighboring countries. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Deutsches Aerzteblatt international: SARS-CoV-2: Every 5th Stockholmer has Antibodies (published: May 22nd 2020),
  • Public Health Authority of Sweden: Första results från pågående undersökning av antikroppar för covid-19-virus (published: 20.05.2020),

Video: Coronavirus: Why Sweden isnt on a national lockdown amid outbreak (May 2022).


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