350 Players and Staff in Croatian First League Test Negative for COVID-19

May 20, 2020 - The results of genetic testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a sample of 350 players and members of the professional staff of Croatian First League clubs ruled out the existence of COVID-19 in the tested population.

HNS reports that the second phase of testing continues this week, which includes serology tests in addition to RT-qPCR molecular tests to determine the presence of specific IgA and IgG antibodies. The presence of igG antibodies is important because it confirms that the person has overcome the disease.

In his efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the president of the Health Commission of the Croatian Football Association, Dr. Dragan Primorac and co-workers developed a comprehensive model that includes, among other things, the application of specific tests to determine the existence of genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 virus, using molecular tests RT-qPCR. Specifically, this analysis proves the presence of viral (N, E, RdRP) genes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Determining the presence of viral genetic material is done from a sample of nasopharyngeal swabs (part of the pharynx behind the nasal cavity) since the nasopharynx is one of the places the virus is concentrated after entering the human body. In this model, genetic testing is done at intervals of five days, in order to avoid obtaining false-negative results. Namely, the so-called latency period (the period from contact with the virus to the production of new virus particles) lasts approximately five days.

The project, which is already known in the world today as the "Croatian model", and which was published in the prestigious Journal of Global Health, was strongly supported by Fifa and Uefa. The Teaching Institute for Public Health “dr. Andrija Štampar", Special Hospital Sv. Katarina, International Society for Applied Biological Sciences (ISABS) and Genos Laboratory. Logistical support for the project is also provided by the "HNS Commission for the Covid-19 Pandemic", which includes members of the HNS Health Commission and scientists from the Clinic for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević”, Teaching Institute for Public Health "Dr. Andrija Štampar" and the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

The Croatian Football Federation especially emphasizes the great cooperation with clubs, players and members of the professional staff who acted extremely responsibly during the implementation of this project. Also, the Croatian Football Federation continues to implement all measures prescribed by the National Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia.

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