People living with HIV/AIDS may be less susceptible to COVID: AIIMS study

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Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], June 30 (ANI): The presence of antibodies, or the seroprevelance against the SARS-CoV-2 was found to be lower among people living with HIV and AIDS according to a study by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.

In the observational prospective cohort study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, researchers conducted the study of 164 PLHAs or people living with HIV/AIDS (aged a mean of 41.2 years), recruited from the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centre at AIIMS between September 1 and November 30 last year.

The antibody prevalence was found to be 14 per cent among the 164 persons with HIV/AIDS, who visited the hospital for their anti-retroviral therapy.

"A total of 164 patients were recruited in the study with mean age (+SD) of 41.2 (+15.4) years and 55 per cent male population. Positive serology against SARS CoV-2 was detected in 14 per cent of patients (95 per cent C 9.1-20.3 per cent). The seroprevalence of COVID-19 disease in PLHA was found to be lower than the general population," the study says.

Twenty-three (14per cent) of the participants were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2. 16.3 per cent of the participants were male and 8.3 per cent were female.

The team also reported that most seropositive patients experienced minimal or no symptoms for COVID-19.

The average seropositivity in Delhi was 25.7 per cent at the time when the samples from persons with HIV/AIDS were collected between September and November 2020.

The researchers note that low prevalence may be attributed to the fact that most of the patients were indoors, avoiding social contact, due to fear of acquiring the disease and may not have actually contacted the disease.

"Another reason for this could be that these patients might not have generated antibodies against COVID-19 or may not have sustained it after getting infected," the study reads.

Seroprevalence helps us to estimate the exact prevalence of a disease in a population.

The report states that the present study indicates the seroprevalence of COVID-19 in PLHA to be lower than the general population. However, the exact reasons for explaining this lower seroprevalence is still not clear. A robust study is required to look into this.

However, researchers also added that despite these findings, PLHA should not be considered at a lower risk for acquiring infections or developing severe disease. They should continue to practice physical distancing norms and use appropriate face masks to prevent themselves from acquiring COVID-19 infection. (ANI)

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