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National serological monitoring
To enable it to understand and monitor the level of the population’s protection against COVID-19, the Prince’s Government is offering residents of the Principality of Monaco free serological monitoring from Tuesday 29 June.
The objective is to use a blood sample to determine a patient’s protection against COVID-19. All of the results collected by the health authorities will make it possible to establish reliable epidemiological surveillance in the Principality.
How does it work?
Following COVID-19 infection or vaccination, the body reacts by producing a range of antibodies, including binding antibodies and neutralising antibodies. However, measuring neutralising antibodies is a very complex task that until now has been carried out only by highly specialised research laboratories.
By taking a simple blood sample and measuring your neutralising antibodies, we will be able to tell you what level of protection you have and also let you know if you have been infected by the virus. Prior infection will be confirmed by measuring anti-N as well as anti-S binding antibodies.
Results will be communicated using the same procedures as for PCR tests carried out at the Testing Centre, thanks to the IT tool developed by the Digital Services Department.
What will serological analysis tell me?
People who have neutralising antibodies are protected. They are very unlikely to contract a serious form of COVID-19 and have a low risk of carrying the virus and therefore infecting those close to them. It should be noted that the longevity of these neutralising antibodies may vary from one individual to the next, and so monitoring at six-monthly intervals is recommended to help protect individuals and their friends and families.
People who have had COVID-19 or do not have neutralising antibodies are invited to get vaccinated. People who have been vaccinated but do not or no longer have sufficient neutralising antibodies are recommended to contact their usual doctor. Regular measurement of antibody levels will allow doctors to determine when a booster vaccine is required.
How can I participate in the serological monitoring?
The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has entrusted the Department of Health Affairs with rolling out this public health programme. Anyone who has already been vaccinated or has been infected with COVID-19 and wishes to find out their level of protection against the virus can call 92.05.55.00. They will then receive a call-back to arrange an appointment.
In support of this public health programme, an observational clinical study, called MonaVacc, will conduct statistical analysis of the results to provide information on the population’s level of protection and to assist public authorities with the implementation of preventive measures. Individuals will be invited to sign a consent form authorising researchers to use the anonymised results of their serological analysis.
The Prince’s Government hopes that this public health programme will enable it to consolidate the achievements so far in the fight against COVID-19.
“This is an innovative and thoughtful initiative which will determine the population’s level of protection,” said Minister of Health and Social Affairs Didier Gamerdinger. “We are pursuing a long-term vision.”