A serological testing in Israel for Immunoglobulin G antibodies found that only about 5.5% of the population has contracted Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Israel is far from herd immunity.
Herd immunity is when a high percentage of a population has become immune to an infection or virus, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.
The Ministry of Health stated Wednesday that it conducted a national serological survey from July to September to assess the presence of antibodies to the Coronavirus in the Israeli population. The serological method makes it possible to estimate the number of people in the population who have been exposed to the virus and have developed antibodies against it.
The advantage of this method is that it can be used to learn about the patient’s previous exposure to the virus, even among those who did not show symptoms of illness or positive tests at the time of their illness, as the antibodies can be found in the bloodstream after recovery.
Some 55,000 subjects living in hundreds of localities nationwide took part in the survey.
According to the survey, the rate of antibodies present in the sample population is 5.5%.
In men, the presence of antibodies was higher than in women, 4.9% compared to 3.1%. Children in the 10-18 age group presented the highest rate of 8.1%.
The rate of positive tests in the Jerusalem District was the highest with 9.5%, the Central District with 2.9%, the Tel Aviv District with 2.2%, the Northern District with 1.9% and the Haifa District with 1.1%.
The findings show that the rate of exposure in Israel is far from what can be defined as “herd immunity.” A 60% infection rate is required to achieve herd immunity.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein noted that Israel is one of the first countries in the world to conduct serological survey on a national scale and with such a wide range of subjects.
A similar test conducted in April showed that between 200,000 and 300,000 people in the country have been infected by COVID-19, about 2.5% of Israel’s population.
To date, Israel has documented 283,532 confirmed Coronavirus cases, of whom 220,046 have recovered and 1,846 have died.