40% of People Living in Ischgl Ski Resort Have Covid-19 Antibodies
26th June 2020
Last modified on May 20th, 2021
The Austria resort had the highest number of cases in Austria as the pandemic spread. Skiers and snowboarders became infected and then took the virus back to their own country. People in the resort now have a high level of immunity.
Researchers from the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria carried out antibody tests on 1,473 people in the resort – almost 80% of Ischgl’s population.
The study found that 42.4% of those tested had antibodies for Covid-19.
The antibodies are produced by the body’s immune system if a person is infected with the virus.
“Even though at that rate herd immunity cannot be assumed, Ischgl’s population should be protected [from the virus] to a large extent,” said the director of the university’s Institute of Virology, Dorothee von Laer.
Serology tests on the blood can show antibodies indicating whether someone has had the virus in the past and may have some level of immunity.
The World Health Organisation has warned there is still no evidence that people who test positive were immunised against getting infected again.
Only 15% of those found to have antibodies in Ischgl had previously tested positive for the virus.
It is the highest percentage of antibodies in any study so far carried out.
Other studies have found antibody rates of 10% in Geneva and 27% in Val Gardena in Italy.
40% is not a high enough figure to be described as ‘herd immunity’.
The figure is generally thought to be around 65%.
The tests in Ischgl were carried out between April 21st and 27th.
1,259 adults and 214 children from some 480 households were tested.
Austria has recorded 17,477 cases, with 698 deaths, and is widely seen as a European country that has done well in battling coronavirus.
The Tirol has had 3,599 cases with 108 deaths.
Ischgl, along with the ski resorts of St Anton and Soelden in the Tirol, had large numbers of cases of covid-19 as the virus swept through the resort in March.
Some fear Ischgl’s reputation has been damaged and it is looking to change its image; Ischgl set to try to change its image.
Almost 5,000 people have joined a lawsuit as they look at trying to receive compensation after they were infected.
3,400, come from Germany, and the group includes almost 400 Dutch people and 120 skiers and snowboarders from the UK; legal action over coronavirus spread from Austrian ski resort.
- Ski resorts contributed to wide spread of coronavirus
- 1,800 covid-19 cases linked to Ischgl
- Ischgl responds to criticism over its handling of coroanvirus
- Ischgl and St Anton remain in quarantine
So, what exactly happened in Ischgl?
It was originally thought the first reported case in Ischgl was on March 7th – a German barman at the Kitzloch apres ski bar in the centre of town.
However subsequent investigations have claimed that the first reported case was a Swiss waitress at the same bar on March 5th.
On March 10th the resort closed all its main apres ski venues.
On March 11th the resort said it was closing for 2-weeks.
On March 12th it said it was closing for the rest of the season after the Provincial government all rski esorts to shut.
However, on March 4th Iceland warned the resort some of its citizens had come back from the resort and developed Covid-19.
On March 5th Iceland warned its citizens not to travel to the resort.
The Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety said the first case was believed to have been an Austrian waitress in Ischgl who started showing symptoms on 8th February.
However the authorities in Tirol dispute this: “This information is demonstrably non-factual.”
It points out that her test was done retrospectively in March.