Questions and Answers

Questions & Answers

Questions and 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 learn more about the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in Germany and thereby contribute to provide policy makers with recommendations.
As a study participant, you get information about your test results (SARS-CoV-2 antibody status).
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. If you then appear at the appointment, you will receive a declaration of consent from the assistant staff, if necessary a release from confidentiality and a short questionnaire, which will be completed on site. In order to be able to fill out the documents online, you will be instructed in the use of the PIA app or web application on site and given your access data. You will also receive a comprehensive questionnaire that you can fill out online at home or send back to the HZI by post. You will receive a stamped envelope for this.

For the samples themselves, a small amount of blood (approx. 9 ml) will be taken, processed on site and then sent to the appropriate laboratories.

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 enter the appointment allocation code when making 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. That is why we 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 result by mail if you have consented to this.
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 a mask with you.

The staff who have direct contact with participants will change their masks and gloves and disinfect the area after each run.
If you are currently ill, mobile testing teams with appropriate protective equipment will come to your home and take the blood sample.

Should I wear a mask?
Yes, please wear your mask all the time.
I have cold symptoms. Should I still come to the study center?
No, please use the service of a mobile team, who will perform the blood sampling at your home. You can take part in the study despite being ill.
I am allergic. Can I still participate?

Yes, you can still participate.

I already had COVID-19. Am I allowed to participate at all?

Yes, you can also participate in the study. If you are in isolation when the blood sample is taken, a mobile team will come to your home and take the blood sample. We ask you to name your treating doctors and hospitals and to sign a corresponding release from confidentiality. This means that more 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 distinguish between a natural infection and a vaccination in the analyses.
Please 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 participate in the study. You are also welcome to use the mobile team.
I have significant impairments (vision, hearing, mobility) - should I still come?

For this purpose, we have mobile teams that take the blood sample at your home so that you can still participate in the study.

Can other people (e.g., who did not receive an invitation letter) participate?

No, unfortunately this 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. In this way, we aim for 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 Commissioner 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 German Criminal Code in the event of breach of duty. In addition, all study data is pseudonymized.
Does an ethical approval exit?

The MuSPAD study is conducted according to the recommendations of the Ethics Committee of the Hannover Medical School (MHH).

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

Approximately 9 ml of blood will be taken for the study.

How long will it take?

We plan a maximum of 30 min for the blood sampling including interview/filling out the short questionnaire per study participant.

What can I do if I decide no longer to participate in the study after the sample has been taken?
ou can revoke your participation in the study in writing, by e-mail or by phone. There are two options for revocation. You may revoke completely or in part. For more information, please send an email to or call our study office at 0531/6181-3160. .
Do I have to come sober?

No, it is not necessary for you to come to the test center sober for this examination.

What can I do if my password for the PIA app 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 request a new one via the PIA portal ( Please click on the “Forgot password” button in the registration area and a new password will be sent to your e-mail address. You can log in again with this new password.

Do I have to fill out the long questionnaire again if I already filled it out in the first round?

No, you only need to fill out the long questionnaire once.
Please note: If you are participating again in the 2nd round, please update the PIA app on your smartphone.

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