In former Covid-19 hot spots of Mumbai, over 40% residents have antibodies, revealed data from private lab

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Published on Aug 10, 2020 12:37 AM IST
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ByMehul R Thakkar

Of the 8,376 samples collected across the city between July 3 and August 7 by a private lab, 2,420 or 28.89% were detected with Covid-19 antibodies.

A high ratio of the antibodies was developed among citizens from Govandi (57%), Dharavi (54%), Worli (42%), Chembur Extension (48%) and Mazagaon (40%) – all of which were earlier the city’s Covid-19 hotspots

The prevalence of Covid-19 antibodies was relatively lower in certain areas of suburbs and south Mumbai, varying between 20-40%, data from Thyrocare Technologies Limited revealed.

According to data, the antibody presence was above 30% in areas within Bandra-Kurla Complex (30%), Ghatkopar West (34.59%), Mulund East (38%), Tilak Nagar (36%), Charkop (31%), Kandivli East (37%), Jogeshwari West (36%), Vikhroli (33%) and Kurla (32%).

In central and south Mumbai, 38% of Sewri residents and 37% of residents from Colaba had Covid-19 antibodies, while 30% of Prabhadevi residents had antibodies.

Dr A Velumani, founder and managing director of Thyrocare, said, “The virus is active in a small number of population at every geographical area regardless of the presence or absence of antibodies. The spread of the virus, however, becomes slow when the antibodies are present in around 25% of the population and the virus becomes ineffective or less effective when 50% or more citizens develop antibodies. For instance, in the case of Dharavi, our results say that over 50% of the residents who were tested, developed the antibodies, and this could be one reason for the lower number of cases which are being reported now from Dharavi as compared to what was being reported earlier.”

According to Velumani, the government can give more relaxations to areas where more than 25% of the population develops antibodies.

“If a body develops antibodies, it is considered to be a good sign, and based on the data on the presence of antibodies, the government can also take decisions on imposing the lockdown or easing it. I guess people develop more immunity if they are exposed more. Also, having antibodies does not mean one should not take precautions. Wherever more than 25% population has developed immunity or antibodies, I feel the government can give more relaxations. We may not open schools and colleges, but industries and services can be opened up to boost economy,” Velumani said.

Commenting on the findings, Daksha Shah, deputy health officer of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) public health department, said, “I can’t comment on the findings of a private laboratory as I am not aware of the methodology it used for the tests. However, generally if a particular area has a higher number of individuals who have developed antibodies, then the spread of the virus may slow down. We have seen the same trend in the city with our findings. The slum areas are now witnessing fewer cases, as they are more individuals developing antibodies as compared to residents from non-slum areas. Currently, the maximum number of cases is from non-slum areas. Hence, when the non-slum areas start having higher presence of antibodies, the pattern of spread may change.”

Earlier, the BMC also tested more than 6,900 people in its sero surveillance, in which 57% residents from slums were detected with antibodies, while 16% of residents from non-slum areas were found with the antibodies.

Private health consultant, Siddarth Paliwal, said, “Our track record of conducting sero surveillance test has been poor. The BMC has conducted tests on less than 10,000 samples. We should aim to cover around 1% of the total population of the city to understand the spread of the virus. If the BMC cannot test that many people, it should tie up with private labs for the purpose.”

Meanwhile on Sunday, Mumbai recorded 1,066 cases and 48 deaths, taking the city’s total case count to 123,382 and death toll to 6,799 (5.51 fatality rate).

The total number of patients discharged after recovery stands at 96,586, and the city recorded a recovery rate of 78.2%. Currently, total active cases stand at 19,700.

Dharavi, a former hot spot which is showing drastic improvement, recorded only five cases on Sunday, after which its total case count stands at 2,617, of which 2,271 have recovered.

On Saturday, Mumbai conducted 7,561 tests. The total tests undertaken in the city surged to 5.99 lakh with an overall positivity rate of 20.4%.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021