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53.7% Nepalis develop COVID antibodies in 10 months



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Photo - Getty Images

Kathmandu, Aug. 30: It has been found that around 53.7 per cent of the population have developed COVID antibodies in 10 months from September 2020- July 2021.

According to the first Seroprevalence Survey carried out by the Ministry of Health and Population, around 14.9 per cent country’s population has been found to have been infected with the coronavirus until September. Whereas, the second Seroprevalence Study has shown that 68.6 per cent of the population has developed antibodies.

“The second survey has shown that 68.6 per cent of the population has developed antibodies. This shows that almost 53.7 per cent of people have developed antibodies in nine months since September 2020- July 2021,” said Dr Basudev Pandey, an infectious diseases expert and former director at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.

According to him, the second Seroprevalence Study was conducted on 13,161 people, chosen randomly between July 5 and August 14. The samples were tested at the National Public Health Laboratory. A similar test was conducted from March 2020, September 2020 on 3,100 people, and it showed that 14.9 per cent of the population had developed antibodies.

The ELISA test, which stands for enzyme-linked immunoassay was tested in both the surveys.

“Even though the anti-bodies ratio has increased but we are yet to know the level of anti-bodies and the protection of it against the virus,” said Dr Pandey.

According to Dr Krishna Prasad Poudel, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), 68.6 percentage of the Nepalese have developed natural antibodies as the percentage of people to have contacted the virus stands at 68.6.

It was the preliminary survey, which was conducted in order to discern about the Coronavirus spread in the country and to know if any certain age group or occupation has been grappled by the virus.  But, other aspects like the level of anti-bodies developed and its protection against the virus is yet to be studied.

"Similarly, fully vaccinated people have developed 90 per cent immunity and people partially vaccinated have developed 80 per cent of immunity." He added.

Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, a virologist and chief of the Clinical Research Unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, said that if antibodies have been produced naturally after a person gets infected with the virus, then it will remain in the body only for some months.

“After a certain time, the person could again be at risk of contracting the virus, therefore, there must be a strategy to immunize those people in order to curb the spread of the virus." Said Pun.

According to Pun, the information available so far about the study does not show the level of anti-bodies developed or if it can protect from the virus.