Only three out of 1,379 people have antibodies for the novel coronavirus in South Korea, a third round of antibody tests in the country showed Monday, bolstering views aggressive containment efforts might have curbed the prevalence of the virus.
Of the three people who have coronavirus antibodies, two have neutralizing antibodies that could defend cells from pathogens and block infections, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Of the three people, two were imported cases and the remaining one did not get a virus test, the KDCA said.
The third serology tests were conducted on the 1,379 people nationwide between Aug. 14 and Oct. 31.
The third tests confirmed that there was an undiagnosed person who was infected with the coronavirus in the local community, said Jeong Eun-kyeong, head of the KDCA.
The result indicated that herd immunity, which refers to a scenario where enough people in a community develop immunity to an infection so that the infection stops spreading, is impossible in South Korea.
The KDCA said containment efforts are the only way to slow the spread of the virus until an effective vaccine is available.
Experts have also said it is common for people who tested positive for the virus but did not show symptoms to lose their immunity.
The antibody rate of 0.07 percent in South Korea is extremely low, compared with other nations and global cities. New York of the United States had a rate of 24.7 percent, London with 17 percent and Stockholm with 7.3 percent.
Serology tests are known to be in use in Europe, the U.S., Japan and other advanced nations to figure out how many people have been infected with the potentially deadly virus.
South Korea added 271 more COVID-19 cases Monday, raising the total caseload to 31,004, according to the KDCA. (Yonhap)