Almost 1.5 million people in Italy, or 2.5% of the population, have developed antibodies against coronavirus, a figure six times higher than the official figures reported, today showed a study by the statistics agency Istat.
The survey by Istat and the Italian Ministry of Health was based on tests conducted on 64,660 people.
Official data show 248,229 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Italy, with 35,166 dead.
The study found well-defined local differences, with the region of Lombardy, in the north of the country, where the epidemic first appeared in February, showing that 7.5% of the population had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies compared to only 0.3% in the region of Sicily, in southern Italy.
The research found that about 30% of people with antibodies were asymptomatic, which points to the risk of the disease being spread by people who are not aware that they are transmitting the virus.