A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, more than half of the population of Hyderabad has developed antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a collaborative study taken up by Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and Bharat Biotech.

The study showed that 54 per cent of the population in the city has antibodies, which means they have developed immunity to SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study is also a clear indication that Hyderabad is just a few months away from attaining herd immunity from Covid.

“This is the ideal time for all of us to go for the kill and vanquish SARS-CoV-2 once and for all in Hyderabad. If general public get themselves inoculated with Covid vaccine, I am sure in the next few months, 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the population will have antibodies and that is enough to attain herd immunity,” said CCMB Director, Dr. RK Mishra on Thursday, while presenting the study results.

The NIN researchers took up the field work of collecting blood samples from 9,000 individuals from across 30 wards under GHMC area in January. The analysis of the blood to ascertain antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 was done by the CCMB researchers.

“The sample size of 9,000 is the largest ever antibody study taken up in recent times in the country and our data sets are robust. Majority of the individuals who developed antibodies never knew they had Covid-19, which means that they had no symptoms and all of them were silent infections,” said NIN Scientist G, Dr A.Laxmaiah.

Almost all the municipal wards showed a similar uniform range of seroprevalence, from 50 per cent to 60 per cent while a few wards showed as much as 70 per cent or as low as 30 per cent of seroprevalence. By and large, there was uniformity in seropositivity rate for almost all the age groups, men and women etc.

“The study gave us a clear view of Covid-19 in Hyderabad. People, however, should continue to take precautions like using masks so that new variants of coronavirus do not gain a footing within the community,” Dr. Mishra added.

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