DAA Daily

Netherlands pioneers unique coronavirus combatting methods

Gabi Beltram Editor-In-Chief & Aline Tarasconi Pawscast / Pawzfeed Editor, The Pawprint

Currently, in the Netherlands, they have launched a new project using testing of blood donations to find signs of those who either: have had and beat the virus, or currently have it but have not shown signs. “It’s possible that you had coronavirus without being sick,” Sanquin spokesman Merlijn van Hasselt told national broadcaster NOS. “If we test for antibodies, we can see whether you’ve already had it … and over time get a picture of how that’s evolving.”

As of March 14th, there were 2,051 reported cases and 58 confirmed deaths. With this testing, they can assist the sick before the virus even develops. “RIVM spokesman Harald Wychgel said that there is vast uncertainty as to how many people may have already had the virus and have beaten the disease, which the blood tests would show.” This not only lessens the number of deaths, but it can also be used to control the entire population of the sick and prevent all spread. So far the project is being carried out with 10,000 blood samples per week by blood bank Sanquin. Active Coronavirus tests showed that among health care staff with cold symptoms at hospitals in Noord Brabant Province on March 6-8 revealed a startling 3.9% of them had the virus. Random testing of patients with flu symptoms in other parts of the country have been going on since early February, so far they have uncovered just a handful of patients, Wychgel said. “We just don’t know how many people are infected with mild symptoms, There’s a lot of uncertainty around this.”

As of now “Measures to limit the outbreak in the Netherlands appear to have halved the rate of infection but need to be continued to be really effective, a top health official said.” With the concurrent success of the program, it is possible other countries may attempt this too. So far with the Dutch being the success story in coronavirus combatting they have used this success to suggest a deal with the European Union which donates to countries most affected in order to assist them. “The Netherlands on Wednesday (30th March) proposed establishing a fund for nations worst hit by the new coronavirus and has asked other countries in the European Union to contribute, Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said.” continuing, “It would be roughly a billion euros and that would be a gift as a sign of solidarity intended for countries dealing with the coronavirus,” he said. 

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