Coronavirus update, Sept. 23, 2021: Czech scientists develop Covid test for virus-neutralizing antibodies

Plus: Vaccine pass forgeries on the rise, city officials calls on Praguers to practice vigilance, and the R numbers holds steady. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 23.09.2021 09:45:00 (updated on 23.09.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech-made coronavirus antibody test to hit the market

Scientists from the Institute of Biotechnology (IBT) and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (IOCB Prague), both part of the Czech Academy of Sciences, have developed a new diagnostic test that can detect the level of antibodies with proven protective properties.

Both institutes have already signed a licensing agreement with the company Immunotech for the manufacture and distribution of the newly developed coronavirus antibody test. Researchers say they have succeeded in preparing a diagnostic test that can measure levels of virus-neutralizing antibodies while filtering out others. According to information released by the academy, this could result in critical savings of time and money. 

Counterfeit vaccine certificates now a full-blown industry in Czech Republic

The market for fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates is experiencing tremendous growth, and sellers are already hawking them in the Czech Republic says a new report released by the Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies. Trading in fraudulent certificates began in the US in December of last year.

At that time, a fake confirmation document could be bought mainly on the encrypted Darknet. Today Telegram is the most popular medium for such transactions. The market is growing across the globe with the tightening of test and vaccination control measures. While no prices were given for the Czech Republic specifically, the estimated going rate for a fake vaccine pass in Europe is EUR 150 euros (CZK 3,800).

Prague asks citizens to remain vigilant about Covid measures

As the epidemic situation worsens in the Czech capital (the incident rate in Prague is the highest in the country at 49 cases per capita), Prague city officials are calling on inhabitants of the metropolis to adhere to the still-valid anti-epidemic measures more consistently. In a press release, the city reminds people to keep appropriate distances and use a respirator in higher concentrations crowds, emphasizes the importance of frequent handwashing, and avoiding poorly ventilated places.

The city is also calling on people to get vaccinated with local hygiene officials saying, "There are still many people among us who do not have the first or second dose." The city will re-launch its mobile vaccination unit on Oct. 3. It is also encouraging people to have a flu shot. Vaccination data can be seen on the city's Golemio portal.

Less than a third of Czech Covid debt went to entrepreneurs

During the Covid pandemic, the state debt increased by CZK 665 billion; of this 185 billion went to aid entrepreneurs a survey released by the Chamber of Commerce states. The chamber presented its findings at the final pre-election debate of parliamentary parties.

Chamber secretary Tomáš Vrbík said the number reflects direct assistance to entrepreneurs in the form of grants, subsidies, or loans. He said that help from public budgets can easily be lower but should be faster and less administratively demanding and that government must better partner with entrepreneurs.

'R' number indicating spread holds steady on Wednesday

According to this morning's data from the Ministry of Health, on Wednesday, there were 526 confirmed cases of Covid in the Czech Republic. The number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus dropped slightly to 165 people. Twenty-four have a serious case. The reproduction number showing the rate of spread of the epidemic remained at 1.05. 

The incidence number indicating the number of newly confirmed cases of Covid in the last seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, remains 29, but the situation varies by region. Prague is currently the worst in terms of cases per 100,000 with 49 infected people per capita in the last week. In the Moravian-Silesian Region, the incidence number is 44. On the contrary, the Hradec Králové region has an incidence number of 11.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Sept. 22, 2021)

  • New cases 599
  • Deaths to date 30,448
  • Currently hospitalized 165
  • PCR tests performed 22,928
  • Antigen tests performed 36,199
  • Total vaccinations 11,738,190
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 8,162
  • Vaccinations completed 5,912,266
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 29
  • R number 1.05
  • PES number 52
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