The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has spread all over the world. RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment is researching the spread of the coronavirus in various ways. In the PIENTER Corona Study, RIVM is collecting information about the number of people who have been in contact with the virus.
Not everyone becomes ill or develops severe symptoms from the coronavirus, and often the symptoms are (very) mild. Most people who have been in contact with the virus will generate antibodies. By measuring the antibodies in their blood, we will know how many people in the Dutch population have been in contact with the virus. People of different ages and in different municipalities throughout the Netherlands are participating. The study provides important information about the virus and the development of immunity to the virus among the Dutch population.
How does it work?
In 2016, a large-scale national study was conducted on protection against infectious diseases: the PIENTER study. At that time, many participants gave permission to contact them for new research. Of these participants, more than 3,200 people signed up and over 2300 people took part in the PIENTER Corona Study. The first round was in April 2020.
The next round took place in June 2020, and everyone who had signed up for the first round was contacted again. At the same time, additional people, spread throughout the Netherlands and distributed across all age groups, were contacted to take part in the next round. Of this extra group over 5000 people signed up and almost 4500 people really participated.
Participants were asked to fill in a digital questionnaire and collect a fingerprick blood sample (using a self-sampling set) and return the blood sample to RIVM. All the blood samples are tested in the laboratory for antibodies against the coronavirus. Participants are asked to do this a maximum of 6 times over a period of 1.5 years.
At the end of September 2020, all previous participants again received an invitation to participate.
In the 2nd week of February 2021 round 4 has started. The timeline for the remaining rounds of the study is not clear yet, it depends on the spread of the virus.
After each round, RIVM publishes the updated results on the website.