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Expert recommends antibody tests for parents in New Taipei kindergarten COVID cluster

NTU Children’s Hospital superintendent says testing for antibodies in addition to PCR helps discern virus source

(New Taipei City Education Bureau photo)

(New Taipei City Education Bureau photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — During an interview on Tuesday morning (Sept. 7), National Taiwan University (NTUCH) Superintendent Huang Li-min (黃立民) said identifying people carrying antibodies but no virus may help pinpoint the source of New Taipei City’s kindergarten COVID-19 cluster, reported CNA.

Huang recommended parents who have not yet been vaccinated and received a negative PCR test result be checked for antibodies as well, as it would be difficult to find the source through contact tracing after the cluster has already formed. For those who have not been vaccinated, testing positive for antibodies but negative for PCR may be a sign of earlier infection.

Though the case count for New Taipei’s kindergarten COVID cluster continues to rise, authorities have yet to identify the source of infection for the initial cases, a married couple living in Tucheng District. The wife (case No. 16,129) is a teacher at a local kindergarten whose husband (case No. 16,128) developed symptoms on Sept. 1.

Huang said there are two possible explanations for how the cluster formed. The husband may have infected his wife at home, who then infected students at the kindergarten, or a child at the kindergarten may have infected the class first.

According to UDN, Huang said due to the lack of receptors in young children, it is difficult for viruses to reproduce in their bodies. However, while infected children usually do not carry a high amount of virus, they spread it easily, as it is harder for children to follow epidemic-prevention rules.

Huang said it will take two incubation periods, which adds up to one month, to tell if the cluster has stopped growing. He added that it is not yet necessary for schools across Taiwan to close and that the country should learn to coexist with the virus and stop panicking over individual cases.

Updated : 2021-09-29 07:59 GMT+08:00