Questions & Answers


Here you will find questions and answers about the antibody study of the Helmoltz Institute.

Why should I participate?
By participating in the study, you will help to better understand the infection process with SARS-CoV-2 for the whole of Germany and thereby contribute to giving policy recommendations for action. As a study participant, you can also find out your personal antibody status against SARS-CoV-2.
What does MuSPAD stand for?

MuSPAD stands for Multi-local and serial cross-sectional prevalence study on antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in Germany.

What is the aim of the study?
The aim of this study is to determine the actual number of persons in the German population who were or are infected with SARS-CoV-2. This should lead to recommendations for policy makers to react appropriately to the incidence of SARS-CoV-2.
How is the procedure?

Before the actual examination, after receiving the letter of invitation, you must make an appointment with the local examination center. Please bring the signed declaration of consent, if applicable a release from the duty of confidentiality, and the follow-up questionnaire with you to your appointment. To be able to fill out the follow-up questionnaire online, please use the LimeSurvey link that was sent to you with your access data.

For the samples themselves, a small amount of blood (approx. 15 ml) is taken from you, processed on site and then sent to the appropriate laboratory. In some cases we will also ask you to take two drops of capillary blood yourself, which you will take from your fingertip (finger prick method).

Where can I find my appointment code?

The appointment code is on the letter of invitation you received.

What do I need the appointment allocation code for?

You must indicate the appointment allocation code when allocating an appointment. This ensures that only people who have been invited take part.

How is the call to participate compatible with the “contact restrictions”?

Arranging an appointment for an examination avoids contact with others. We therefore ask you to be on time for your appointments, but also not to be there too early. In addition, the investigation teams adhere to strict hygiene measures to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

How do I get the test result?

You will receive your results by post, provided you have given your consent.

Which protective measures must be observed?

An individual hygiene concept was developed for the study participants as well as for the staff, according to the current requirements of the Infection Protection Act. On site, trained staff will accompany you through the premises and ensure compliance with the hygiene measures. Please have mouth and nose protection with you.
The staff who have direct contact with the test persons will change their mouthguards and gloves after each test and disinfect the examination area.
If you are currently ill, mobile examination teams with appropriate protective equipment will come to your home and take the blood sample there.

Should i wear a protective mask?
Yes, please wear mouth and nose protection all the time.
I have cold symptoms. Should I come to the center anyway?

No, please make a new appointment.

I am allergic. Can I still participate?

Yes, you can still participate.

I already had COVID-19. Can I even take part?

Yes, you can also take part in the study. If you are in isolation at the time the blood is taken, we ask that you show proof of a negative antigen test or PCR test taken on day 5 at the earliest.
We ask you to name your treating doctors and hospitals and to sign a corresponding release from confidentiality. This means that detailed diagnostics and treatment data can be requested.

I have already been vaccinated against COVID-19. Can I still participate?

Yes, you can still participate. You will receive a positive test result, but we can differentiate between a natural infection and a vaccination in the analyzes.
Important note: If possible, please bring your vaccination card with you to the examination.

I belong to the risk group - can I still come?
You can still take part in the study. Extensive hygienic precautions are taken on site to prevent infection with the novel corona virus during the visit to the examination center.
Can other people (not invited participants) also take part?
No, unfortunately that is not possible because it is a random sample. Each person in a population can be included in the sample (subset to be examined) with the same probability. It is hoped that this will provide a representative representation of the total population.
Does the HZI take the protection of my data seriously?
The data protection concept was coordinated with the data protection officer of the HZI and was submitted to the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI). All cooperation agreements and order processing agreements are concluded in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Personnel who work with personal-identifying data are obliged to observe Section 5 of the Federal Data Protection Act on data secrecy and Section 203 of the Criminal Code in the event of breach of duty. In addition, all study data are pseudonymized.
Is there an ethics vote?

The MuSPAD study is carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the MHH ethics committee.

How is the study funded?
The study is financed by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers (HGF).
How much blood is drawn

Approximately 15 ml of blood will be taken for the study. In some cases we will also ask you to take two drops of capillary blood yourself, which you will take from your fingertip (finger prick method).

What is the finger pricks method?
The finger pricks method offers the possibility of taking a blood sample through a finger prick. With these new methods, only a drop of blood would have to be taken from the finger. The blood drops are placed in a device that tests the capillary blood for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The test result is available within a few minutes. This method is a cost-effective alternative to venous blood collection to determine the SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence from a larger number of participants.
What are so-called IGRAS?
The implementation of IGRAs (Interferon gamma Release Assay) in the laboratory enables the detection of specific T cells against SARS-CoV-2 and can thus map existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in an even more differentiated and complete manner.
How long it will take?

We plan a maximum of 30 minutes for the blood draw including the questioning / filling in the short questionnaire per study participant.

What can I do if I decide after taking the sample that I no longer want to take part in the study?
You can revoke your participation in the study in writing, by email or by telephone. There are two options for a recall. The revocation can take place in whole or in part. For further information please send an email to muspad@helmholtz-hzi.de .
Do I have to come sober?

No, it is for this investigation Not It is necessary that you come to the test center sober.

What can I do if my password doesn't work or I've forgotten it?

The password is only valid for 120 hours after registration. If your password does not work or you have forgotten it, please apply for a new one via the PIA portal ( www.pia-app.de ). Please click on the “Forgot your password” button in the registration area and a new password will be sent to your email address. You can log in again with this new password

Do I have to fill out the long questionnaire again if I filled it out in the first round?
No, you only need to fill out the long questionnaire once.
Important note: If you are back in the 2nd round, please update the PIA app on your smartphone.
Do I have to fill out the follow-up questionnaire?
Yes please, this questionnaire aims to identify changes in the situation. Filling out the questionnaire only takes a few minutes. The questionnaire can be filled out web-based via LimeSurvey or by post. Please have your participant ID at hand. Answering the questionnaire is voluntary.
I am already vaccinated against COVID 19, does it make sense to participate in the study?
Yes, because many questions in connection with the vaccination have not yet been clarified, e.g. whether people who have been vaccinated have developed enough antibodies. If antibodies can be detected, they will receive a positive result. Further objectives of the study are independent of the vaccination, such as the investigation of long-term effects.
Will I also receive information about the COVID-19 vaccination when I visit the test center?

The aim of our antibody study MuSPAD is to gain a wide range of knowledge about the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. No treatments or consultations are carried out. Questions about the COVID-19 vaccination, for example, will be answered by your family doctor or the local health department. RKI: https://www.rki.de/SharedDocs/FAQ/COVID-Impfen/haben.html

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