Bavaria-Wide Testing for Sars-COV2 Antibodies in Combination With Screening for Presymptomatic Type 1 Diabetes Completed
Most children displayed SARS-CoV2 immunity. In March 2023, SARS-CoV2 antibodies were present in 94% of the children, including infants.
Since the beginning of 2020, children participating in the early detection study for type 1 diabetes called Fr1da were additionally tested for the presence of SARS-CoV2 antibodies. Since the antibodies appear after having undergone infection or vaccination, this provided valuable data on the immunity of children in Bavaria throughout the course of the Covid19 pandemic. For example, the researchers were able to show that up to four times more children in Bavaria were infected with SARS-CoV2 during the second wave of the pandemic than determined by PCR testing. By the end of March 2023, the researchers from the Helmholtz Munich Institute for Diabetes Research examined more than 70,000 children. They observed a monthly increase in the frequency of antibody-positive children. In March 2023, SARS-CoV2 antibodies were present in 94% of the children and studied, including infants. Therefore, along with the end of other pandemic-related measures in Bavaria, also additional monitoring of SARS-CoV2 antibodies as part of the Fr1da study will be discontinued from April on.
The Fr1da study is a unique project for the early detection of type 1 diabetes. Since 2015, the study has been screening children in Bavaria aged 2 to 10 years for an early stage of type 1 diabetes. By now, Fr1da screening is additionally offered in Saxony, Lower Saxony and Hamburg. As biomarkers, autoantibodies in the children's blood are measured. These indicate an autoimmune reaction against the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, which underlies the development of type 1 diabetes. So far, about 180,000 children have been tested across Bavaria. "This is made possible by excellent cooperations with pediatric practices and a distinctive network of pediatric diabetology centers in Bavaria," emphasizes Prof. Anette-Gabriele Ziegler, head of the Fr1da study, director of the Helmholtz Munich Institute for Diabetes Research and Professor for Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes at Technical University of Munich (TUM). Dr. Michael Hubmann, designated Federal Chairman of the Berufsverbands der Kinder- und Jugendärzte (BVKJ), participates in the Fr1da study with his own practice. " The pandemic-related additional determination of SARS-CoV2 antibodies into diabetes autoantibody screening is a great example for a quick and effective response to new medical challenges. The Fr1da type 1 diabetes screening holds great potential for future challenges," the pediatrician adds.
Fr1da SARS-CoV-2-Dashboard (in German)
Press release (2020): Results of the SARS-CoV-2 antibody screening