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Over 50% people in 10 Delhi districts show Covid antibodies, latest sero survey says

Only North district was found to have less than 50% seroprevalence in a survey, the largest so far in Delhi, conducted in January by Maulana Azad Medical College.

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New Delhi: The fifth serological survey of the national capital, conducted over 10 days in January, has shown that 56.13 per cent of people have developed antibodies against Covid-19.

The survey, conducted by researchers at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), analysed samples from 28,169 people, and found that in 10 of Delhi’s 11 districts, over 50 per cent people have developed antibodies for the disease. Only the North district showed seroprevalence below 50 per cent in the survey, which has been accessed by ThePrint.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain confirmed these findings while addressing the media Tuesday.

A sero survey helps understand the prevalence of infection in an area. Once a person has developed antibodies against Covid-19, the chances of that person contracting the infection against it are relatively lower.

The South-East district showed the highest seroprevalence with 62.18 per cent, followed by the East district at 58.81 per cent and West at 58.60 per cent. The South district registered 56.96 per cent, Central 56.78 per cent, Shahdara 56.54 per cent, New Delhi 54.69 per cent, North-West 54.32 per cent, North-East 53.88 per cent, and South-West 50.93 per cent. In the North district, the figure was 49.1 per cent.

“The more populated the area, the higher are the chances of more seroprevalence. The South-East and East districts perhaps have higher antibodies, since they are known to have more slums,” a senior researcher, who worked on the survey at MAMC, told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity.

Also read: Delhi could be heading towards attaining ‘herd immunity’, latest sero-survey indicates

More antibodies found in women

Delhi newest serological survey, the largest so far, was conducted between 11 and 21 January — before and during the launch of the Covid-19 vaccination drive.

The samples were sent to the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) for testing, with an initial report being submitted to the office of Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

Women were found to have more antibodies (52.5 per cent) as compared to men, a Delhi government official confirmed.

Like the sero surveys conducted last year, the maximum number of antibodies was found in the over-50 age group, followed by those below 18 years, and finally, 18-49.

“The highest number of coronavirus cases in Delhi, or peak, was reported on 11 November, and hence this survey was conducted in January, keeping the period between 11 November to 11 December in mind,” the survey report observed.

The first sero survey in Delhi, conducted in June and July, had showed 23.4 per cent of the people surveyed had developed antibodies, with the number rising to 29.1 per cent in August, before dropping to 25.1 per cent in September and 22.5 per cent in October.

The MAMC report also mentioned that while 72.3 per cent (817) of the 1,121 people who tested positive for Covid-19 at some point or other developed antibodies, no antibodies were found in the remaining 27.7 per cent.

A senior Delhi health department official said: “It is likely that they developed antibodies, but these weren’t detected in the antibodies test conducted. However, it is a point of debate and research for us as well, post this survey.”

Also read: India records lowest daily Covid cases in 8 months, test positivity rate falls to 1.3%


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