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As per the latest seroprevalence study conducted in Hyderabad, more than half of the city's population may have been infected with COVID-19 and developed antibodies against the dreaded disease.
The seroprevalence study was released after blood samples of 9,000 people were collected. The study found the presence of antibodies against the novel coronavirus among 54 per cent of the participants, indicating prior exposure to the virus.
The 9,000 people were selected from 30 out of the 150 divisions of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), which represents all zones of the civic body.
From each of the 30 wards, 300 people aged above 10 years were selected.
The seroprevalence study was conducted jointly by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and Bharat Biotech, reported The New Indian Express.
CCMB director Dr Rakesh Mishra said that the high prevalence of antibodies suggested that Hyderabad might be slowly moving towards herd immunity and it would be accelerated with the ongoing vaccination drive. He emphasised the need for people to continue following infection-preventive measures such as wearing a mask and also getting vaccinated amid the threat of new coronavirus variants.
According to a press release by the CCMB, most of the wards showed a similarly uniform range of seroprevalence of antibodies, between 50 per cent and 60 per cent and a couple of wards showed as high as 70 per cent. At the same time, the release also added that a couple of others had a prevalence of 30 per cent.
Another significant finding in the survey was that most people were not aware that they could have been exposed to the coronavirus.
NIN director Dr R Hemalatha said that more than 75 per cent of the seropositive population did not know that they had contracted coronavirus infection in the past. He further added that this suggests seroconversion, that is, antibody formation has happened even with silent infections.
The prevalence of antibodies was marginally higher among women at 56 per cent than men that stood at 53 per cent.
The seroprevalence study also found that the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies was the same, around 54%, among individuals who had suffered prominent symptoms and those who were asymptomatic.
Those above 70 years of age showed lower seropositivity which stood at 49 per cent, reported India Today. The lower seropositivity amid the elderly population could be due to their generally limited mobility and extra care taken by the family during the pandemic.
Telangana continues to be in fear of the second wave of virus infections, with surging numbers witnessed in neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka.
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