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Explained: Pune serosurvey indicates 50% have antibodies, what this means

The localities where the sero-survey was carried out in Pune are high-incidence areas, where the number of detected cases are much higher.

Written by Amitabh Sinha , Edited by Explained Desk | Pune | August 18, 2020 12:45:49 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus news, covid 19, india covid 19 cases, corona news, coronavirus cases in india, coronavirus india update, coronavirus cases today update, coronavirus casesClass X students collect their marksheets from the New English School in Pune on August 17, 2020. Students were made to adhere to social distancing norms, and wear masks. (Express Photo: Pavan Khengre)

The results of a serological survey in Pune has indicated that over 50 per cent of the population could already have been infected by novel Coronavirus. This is significantly higher than the results of similar serological surveys carried out in some other cities, like Delhi and Mumbai, but not surprising.

The sero-survey in Delhi had found 23 per cent of the sampled people to be carrying novel Coronavirus-specific anti-bodies, showing that they would have been infected at some point or the other. In Mumbai, about 40 per cent of the sampled group was found to be infected.

The sero-surveys in Delhi and Mumbai were carried out a few weeks earlier, and therefore, the disease spread in the population could actually have been a little lower at that time. Also, the localities where the sero-survey was carried out in Pune are high-incidence areas, where the number of detected cases are much higher.

In general, the results of Pune sero-survey are therefore “consistent” with the numbers thrown up by similar exercises in Delhi and Mumbai, as scientists Vineeta Bal and Satyajit Rath have written in The Indian Express.

“Together, they say that SARS-CoV2 (the scientific name of novel Coronavirus) has been spreading widely in our urban communities, particularly in crowded localities,” they write.

“These numbers also seem to confirm the general impression that most SARS-CoV2 infections are asymptomatic (some estimates say approximately 80 per cent are asymptomatic). Most of the volunteers participating in this survey reported no illness over the past few months. Of course, the virus could be spreading from asymptomatically infected people too, especially within families,” the scientists have written.

But scientists again warn against interpreting these results as an indication of the percentage of population that might have become immune to the disease. The serological surveys are not designed to detect neutralising or “protective” antibodies in human beings. All antibodies are not protective. It is only the neutralising antibodies that can make a person immune to the disease.

More serological surveys are planned in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities in the coming days.

Also in Explained | Covid-19 vaccine tracker, August 18: Joint trials by China and Russia; Novavax enters into phase-2 trials and more

Top ten states with maximum caseload:

STATE TOTAL POSITIVE NEW CASES TOTAL RECOVERIES DEATHS

 

Maharashtra 604,358 8,493 428,514 20,265
Tamil Nadu 343,945 5,890 283,937 5,866
Andhra Pradesh 296,609 6,780 209,100 2,732
Karnataka 233,283 6,317 148,562 4,078
Uttar Pradesh 158,216 3,798 104,808 2,515
Delhi 153,367 787 138,301 4,214
West Bengal 119,578 3,080 89,703 2,473
Bihar 106,618 2,525 76,706 542
Telangana 93,937 2,576 72,202 711
Gujarat 79,667 1,033 62,579 2,802

With more than 1.32 lakh infected people, Pune already has overtaken Mumbai in the total number of people who have so far been confirmed positive. At the rate which it is currently growing, about 3,000 cases every day, it is poised to even surpass Delhi’s number of 1.53 lakh in a few days. Pune already has the highest number of active cases in the country.

On Monday, just over 55,000 new cases were detected across the country, which is significantly lower than the 63,000-65,000 cases that were being discovered through most of the last week. The detections do drop over the weekend because of reduced testing. Sometimes, relatively lower number of new cases are detected on Monday as well, because of the time lag in declaration of results of the tests. Usually, the results come only two to three days after the tests are done.

Don’t miss from Explained | Positivity rate begins to decline, relative stagnation in new detections

coronavirus, coronavirus news, covid 19, india covid 19 cases, corona news, coronavirus cases in india, coronavirus india update, coronavirus cases today update, coronavirus cases The daily rise in Covid-19 cases in India this month

On Monday, close to 9 lakh tests were conducted throughout the country, which is the highest till date. The target of one million tests a day is likely to be reached within a few days.

Maharashtra now has over 6 lakh confirmed cases, and the death count has crossed 20,000. Andhra Pradesh, in all likelihood, will cross three lakh cases on Tuesday.

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Don’t miss from Explained | Can a recovered patient be re-infected with Covid-19?

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