Pune shows early signs of ‘herd immunity’, second wave unlikely: Survey

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herd immunity, covid-19 infection in indiancities, sero survey in Pune, neutralising antibodies of Covid, protective antibodies of covid, covid studyWherever the sero-positivity rate was high in Pune, the incidence rate has fallen sharply. (Representattive Image, IE)Close to 85% of the Pune population has developed immunity from Covid-19! A first-of-its-kind study conducted on an Indian city has concluded that majority of the population who had developed antibodies found in a sero survey conducted earlier now has developed ‘protective’ antibodies against the disease that construe as acquiring immunity, reported IE.

A sero survey is a study in which serum samples are obtained from selected populations and are tested for antibodies for a definite virus. These surveys estimate the extent of spread of an infection in a large population. The latest finding is a follow-up of a serosurvey conducted in July-August that revealed 51% of the city’s population has already been infected by coronavirus at some point of time and has developed antibodies, but the study was not supportive of concluding that the sample has also developed, ‘neutralising’ or ‘protective’ antibodies, a subset of antibodies that gives immunity from the disease in future.

With the first follow up study conducted in Pune to detect the presence of these subsets of antibodies in the infected person, the experts have suggested that the concept of ‘herd immunity’ might have started playing out there, especially in one of the divisions of the sero survey, the Lohianagar prabhag, where highest prevalence was infection was detected months ago. As the incidence rate has fallen sharply, it indicated that the population might have developed protection cover against the disease.

Dr Gagandeep Kang, one of the co-authors of the study although has not emphasized on Pune achieving herd immunity, but confirmed that the study has successfully pointed out that wherever the sero-positivity rate was high, the incidence rate has fallen sharply. The study is yet to be reviewed by his peers. Kang, however, did not rule out a second wave of coronavirus in Pune and advised people to continue wearing their masks and not crowd up in public places.

Principal Investigator of the study, Aurnub Ghose said that 50% of the infected people who have shown the prevalence of antibodies had developed high levels of ‘neutralising’ antibodies. Epidemiologist Jacob John, another co-author of the study, however, is positive with the outcome and said that if the current level of public behaviour continues, Pune experiencing a second wave of coronavirus is unlikely.

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