50 Percent of Bhubaneswar Population Developed Antibodies Against Covid-19, Says RMRC

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In a major relief amid the COVID-19 scare, the Regional Medical Research Center (RMRC) here on Friday announced that a sero-survey has found out that about 50 per cent people of Bhubaneswar have developed antibodies against the highly infectious disease. Sero-survey is a random sampling done in a group of individuals to check the spread of COVID-19 in a community. It works as an indicator of antibodies against the virus.

"As many as 1,403 samples were collected randomly from 25 wards of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation limit. It was found that over 50 per cent of people had an infection and they have already developed antibodies," Dr Sanghamitra Pati, director of RMRC, Bhubaneswar, said. The RMRC is a permanent research centre of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

However, the remaining 50 per cent of the state capitals 11 lakh people is still vulnerable to the infection and there should not be any complacency. All should maintain COVID safety protocols such as wearing masks, washing hands, and adhering to social distancing norms, she said. "We are encouraged by the results of the third phase sero-survey as the first and second survey had indicated the antibodies development rate only at 1.5 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively," the RMRC director said.

While the first sero-survey in the state capital was conducted on July 14, the second one was held on August 28.The third sero-survey was conducted between October 16 and 18.

Stating that the sero survey results are the "future roadmap" in the on-going fight against COVID-19, Pati said, "In some localities, it has been found that 63 per cent of the people have developed antibodies against the COVID-19. The lowest 28 per cent antibody prevalence was seen in ward number 55 of the BMC." Earlier, sero-surveys have also been done in Puri, Berhampur, Parlakhemundi, Malkangiri and Rourkela. The next round of survey is likely to be held in Cuttack, an official said. Meanwhile, director of Institute of Life Science (ILS) Ajay Parida said though the number of new infection rate has declined in the state, it may increase in coming days with a drop in temperature and humidity.

The ILS is an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. "It has been observed that the number of COVID infection cases is increasing in winter. If proper precautions are not taken, the infection can spread in the coming days," Parida added.

He said that Odisha has also witnessed some re- infected cases. "However, the number of such cases is less as compared to other states. So far, three to four people have tested positive for the virus for a second time," he said.