Antibodies Testing in Karachi Reveals COVID19 Exposure Runs in Double Digits

Antibodies testing of 7,000 adults in Karachi reveals that as many as 15% of them have already been exposed to COVID19 without experiencing symptoms, according to a study by Dr. Wajiha Javed, an epidemiologist and head of public health and research at Getz Pharma in Pakistan. This data raises the possibility that millions of Pakistanis may have already been exposed to coronavirus. It takes at least 40% of the population to be exposed to build herd immunity. This may be the only way to normalcy unless there is a vaccine available sooner.

Human Immune Response:

Human body naturally produces antibodies to fight viruses of various kinds, including the coronavirus. Presence of antibodies in a person confirms that he or she has been exposed to a virus regardless of symptoms. Serology tests can detect body's immune response to even a low-level viral load. Such an immune response also occurs to a vaccine which does not make you sick but helps build immunity. More low level exposure to viruses in large numbers of people is in fact a good thing because it helps build herd immunity. However, the most vulnerable population such as the elderly must be isolated until herd immunity is achieved. It takes at least 40% of the population to be exposed to build herd immunity.

Coronavirus Antibodies

Getz Study:

Getz Pharma's Dr. Wajiha Javed told me in the latest update on her ongoing work that serology tests have so far been administered to 7,000 adults aged 18-65 over the last 6 weeks in Karachi. 15% of them have tested positive for COVID19 antibodies. People tested included those working for banks, restaurants, textile mills, factories, media and health care workers.

Antibody testing kits detect the response of the body rather than the virus or antigen itself. These tests do not have the issue of low viral load. Antibody tests can detect exposure to Covid-19 even in asymptomatic cases. Generally, antibody testing kits have a high level of accuracy, especially on sequential testing. The kit Getz Pharma has been using has a sensitivity (the ability to correctly detect positive cases) of 95.3% and specificity (the ability to correctly detect negative cases) of 98.7% for IgG, and the sensitivity is 86.48% and specificity is 95.18% for IgM, according to Dr. Wajiha Javed.

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Asymptomatic Carriers: 

Over 90% of those who tested positive in Karachi did not have any symptoms or had only mild symptoms, Dr. Wajiha Javed recently wrote in Dawn newspaper.  But some were infectious and they were spreading the virus to others. Because of their non-existent or mild symptoms, they had not reached out to a PCR testing facility to get tested for Covid-19, and were only incidentally picked out for the antibody test during Getz's study. This data raises the possibility that millions of Pakistanis may have already been exposed to coronavirus.

Summary:

As many as 15% of Karachi adults have been exposed to COVID19 with over 90% of them showing no symptoms, according to a Getz Pharma study in Pakistan. People tested included those working for banks, restaurants, textile mills, factories, media and health care workers. Human body naturally produces antibodies to fight viruses of various kinds, including the coronavirus. Presence of antibodies in a person confirms that he or she has been exposed to a virus regardless of symptoms. It can even detect body's immune response to a low-level viral load. Getz Pharma's antibodies test data suggests the possibility that millions of Pakistanis may have already been exposed to coronavirus.  Such an immune response also occurs to a vaccine which does not make you sick but helps build immunity. More low level exposure to viruses in large numbers of people is in fact a good thing because it helps build herd immunity. This may be the only way to normalcy unless there is a vaccine available sooner.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 6, 2020 at 7:12am

WHO's Mike Ryan: "..in South Asia, not just in India, but in Bangladesh and in Pakistan and other countries in South Asia with large dense populations, the disease has not exploded, but there is always the risk of that happening" #COVID19 #Pakistan #India https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/who-warns-of-covid19-explos...

Geneva, June 6 (IANS) The World Health Organization (WHO) said that as the COVID-19 cases were growing at an alarming rate in South Asia, there were risks of an explosion of the virus in the densely-populated region.

"Particularly in South Asia, not just in India, but in Bangladesh and in Pakistan and other countries in South Asia with large dense populations, the disease has not exploded, but there is always the risk of that happening," Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said during a press conference here on Friday.

"And as the disease generates and gets a foothold in communities, it can accelerate at anytime," he added.

"The number of cases in India has been going up by an average of a third per week, so probably the doubling time of the epidemic in India is about three weeks at this stage.

"So the direction of travel of the epidemic is not exponential, but it is still growing," he said.

Ryan said the measures taken in India "certainly had an impact in dampening transmission, and as India, as in other large countries open up and as people begin to move again, there''s always a risk of the disease bouncing back up".

"I think the important thing is to really keep track of the the growth rate, the doubling time of the virus and make sure that that doesn''t get worse," said WHO''s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan.

As India is a "heterogeneous and huge country with very densely populated cities", Swaminathan said it''s important to wear face coverings.

As of Saturday, India has reported over 2.3 lakh COVID-19 cases, surpassing Italy. It is now in the sixth position with the highest number of infections in the world.

According to the Health Ministry, there were a total of 6,642 deaths.

After India, Pakistan is the worst affected in South Asia with 89,249 COVID-19 cases, and 1,935 fatalities.

Bangladesh follows in the third position with 60,391 infections and 811 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

With 18,969 cases and 309 deaths, Afghanistan is currently in the fourth position.

Nepal has reported 2,912 cases and 11 deaths, followed by Maldives 1,883 cases with seven deaths; and Sri Lanka with 1,801 cases and 11 deaths.

Bhutan has registered 48 cases with no fatalities.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 7, 2020 at 6:51pm

#Pakistani #Harvard doctoral student Talha Irfan commits suicide in the #US after he failed to overcome depression caused by prolonged isolation at his apartment after #lockdown imposed in the country to control spread of novel #coronavirus. #COVID19

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/07-Jun-2020/pakistani-phd-student-d...

A PhD student of Pakistan origin died in the US after he failed to overcome depression caused by prolonged isolation at his apartment after lockdown imposed in the country to control spread of novel coronavirus, local media reported.

Talha Irfan Khawan, 23, was student of renowned Harvard University where he had gotten admission after accomplishing his Masters degree in Astrophysics from Chicago University.

The deceased student was the only son of head of endocrinology department in Services Hospital, Lahore Dr Khadija Irfan and Dr Irfan Waheed.

Talha was under stress due to lockdown situation, local media said citing family sources. The aggrieved family is in contact with consulate for repatriation of his body.

The coronavirus cases have surged to 1,993,328 in the US amid efforts to develop vaccine to fight off the virus. The death toll has reached 112,142.

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