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.
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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.
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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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