Val Gardena was one of the first corona infections in South Tyrol. As part of a project study in the three communities of St. Ulrich, St. Christina and Wolkenstein, a broad-based test of around 3,000 people is now being carried out. In today’s press conference, State Councilor Thomas Widmann presented the project together with those responsible for the medical company.
This is a project that is second to none: Such a broad, high-quality double test (from May 26th to June 8th, a PCR smear test and a serological test will be carried out on selected individuals) in a local area it rarely. Study director Michael Mian, hematologist at the Bolzano hospital and responsible for the management, is convinced: “With these tests, which are carried out in cooperation with the University of Innsbruck, we not only implement the WHO motto” test, test, test “, but also can also determine how many people have come into contact with the virus and have developed antibodies. For this, the state statistics institute ASTAT selected around 3,000 people who are considered representative. These are invited in writing – of course, participation is voluntary and we value informed consent. The – free – tests take place in the St. Christina civil protection center. “
The regional testing of around a third of all Val Gardena is also a milestone for State Councilor Thomas Widmann: “Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, the health care system has gradually increased test capacities. It is now of central importance to further increase the test capacities in order to ensure constant monitoring. In particular, risk groups and exposed persons should be strengthened and repeatedly tested. Our test capacities also allow us to carry out studies – such studies provide us with important epidemiological data relating to the spread of the coronavirus in South Tyrol. We have already been able to gain initial results from the extensive tests carried out by employees and volunteers from the White and Red Cross. ”
The aim is to get a comprehensive overview
“As we all know, there was the first focus of infection in Val Gardena at the beginning of the crisis. Our goal today is to get a comprehensive overview of the situation there. But that should only be a first step, because this study is the start for the establishment of an extensive data and blood bank in South Tyrol. I would like to thank everyone who is involved: In addition to the employees of the medical company and the project partners Eurac, Institute for General Medicine and ASTAT, these are in particular the three mayors of Val Gardena, the White Cross, the volunteer fire brigade and last but not least the 3,000 Val Gardena, who are participating in the study. “
The tests, according to Christina Troi, primary of the laboratory at Brixen Hospital, offer a high diagnostic quality. For example, a PCR smear indicates whether an infection is still in progress or not, but we do not find out whether contact with the virus has already occurred when a non-infection is detected. A single serological test, on the other hand, says Troi, has the advantage that it provides information about whether antibodies are present, but not whether there is still a current infection. “The combination of both tests gives us a high diagnostic value: We can not only say with certainty whether the test person is still infected, but also whether they have already gone through the disease.” Dagmar Regele, Primary of the, also makes this notch Departments for prevention: “With these comprehensive tests, we no longer check individuals, but also test asymptomatic people – almost an entire valley. This paradigm shift in test activity enables us to get an accurate picture of how many people in one place are really infected or have already gone through the disease. The information obtained allows general conclusions to be drawn. The tested people can find out the results online at sabes.it or directly. ”
More tests are being done
For General Director Florian Zerzer, these findings are extremely important: “This is what characterizes our actions in phase 2: we increase our test capacities where necessary. The medical company becomes active on its own and works closely with the local authorities. Together we will succeed in suppressing the virus. “
In addition to the Virological Laboratory of the University of Innsbruck, the study also involved the Eurac Institute for Biomedicine (a blood or material sample is kept in the Eurac biobank in order to be used for future epidemiological-genetic studies on Covid19), the Institute for General Medicine South Tyrol and the State Statistics Institute ASTAT.