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Gov't-led coronavirus antibody tests start for 3,000 people in central Japan pref.

People are seen getting blood drawn to be tested for coronavirus antibodies at a public health center in Nagoya's Minami Ward on Dec. 15, 2020. (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

NAGOYA -- A survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on the ratio of people who have coronavirus antibodies began in the central Japan prefecture of Aichi on Dec. 15.

    The investigation on the percentage of people who were infected by the novel coronavirus and developed antibodies was first carried out in the prefectures of Tokyo, Osaka and Miyagi in June. Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures were added to this list for the second survey.

    Of the 19,536 people in Aichi that applied to receive antibody tests as part of the investigation, 3,000 people were selected. The antibody tests will be conducted at seven venues across the prefecture until Dec. 20.

    At a public health center in Nagoya's Minami Ward, a 10-milliliter blood sample was taken from selected individuals. A 73-year-old woman from the city's Naka Ward said, "Because I work in the hospitality industry, my daughter recommended that I get tested." A 25-year-old graduate student from the city's Chikusa Ward, who says he is planning to go back to his parents' home in Osaka at the end of the year, explained, "It's possible to be infected but show no symptoms, so I was interested in knowing if I had antibodies."

    When people get infected by a virus, antibodies are produced, which can tag infected cells to neutralize them. By testing if an individual has antibodies, it becomes clear if they have been infected by the virus in the past.

    (Japanese original by Shiho Sakai, Nagoya News Center)

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