Just five per cent of the population of Spain has Covid-19 antibodies, survey says

Early study results show Spain is a long way off herd immunity.
Early study results show Spain is a long way off herd immunity. / EFE
  • The country is still a long way off herd immunity, early results have shown; Malaga and the Costa del Sol has 4.4% assumed immunity, the highest in Andalucía

The worst suspicions of many were confirmed on Wednesday. Spain, just as other surrounding countries, is a long way off herd immunity to coronavirus (a rate of 60 per cent of people with antibodies), which would allow for a much faster relaxing of lockdown.

A large testing survey being carried out across Spain has shown that the national average of those with antibodies is only five per cent. However there are wide differences between the regions and their 50 provinces.

The virus has had more impact in the centre of the country, away from the coasts, according to these preliminary results from the study by the Health ministry and Instituto de Salud Carlos III that began at the end of April.

The early conclusion is that Spain has 2.3 million of its 47 million population with immunity, meaning the pandemic can only be contained through social distancing.

The Madrid region and Castilla-La Mancha are the areas with the highest percentage with antibodies, at over 10 per cent of the population. The regions with least immunity are Murcia (1.4%), Asturias (1.8%) and the Canary Islands (1.8%).

Within the eight provinces of Andalucía, which has a regional average of 2.7 per cent immunity, Malaga province (including the Costa del Sol) has the highest on 4.4 per cent. This is equivalent to around 73,000 local people who have developed antibodies after being infected.

In the remaining Andalusian provinces, the results were: Almeria, 1.8%; Cadiz, 1.7%; Cordoba, 2.4%; Granada, 2.4%; Huelva, 1%; Jaén, 3.6% and Seville, 2.3%.

Across Spain, just over 60,000 people have taken part in the controlled test. Data is now being validated and the survey will continue until June.

These early results appear to show little difference in rates of immunity between men and women and between occupations.

Differences do appear to be showing up in children, where fewer have caught the disease.