Study Finds Some India Slums Might Have Reached COVID19 Herd Immunity

Written by on 07/30/2020

Study Finds Some India Slums Might Have Reached COVID19 Herd Immunity

Via South China Morning Post

About six in 10 people living in some of India’s biggest slums have antibodies for the novel coronavirus indicating they had recovered from infection, in what appears to be one of the highest population immunity levels known worldwide.

The findings, from a July serological survey of 6,936 people across three suburbs in Mumbai, may explain why a steep drop in infections is being seen among the closely-packed population, despite new cases accelerating overall in the hard-hit country.

“Mumbai’s slums may have reached herd immunity ,” said Jayaprakash Muliyil, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of India’s National Institute of Epidemiology, and the retired head of one of its premier medical colleges. “If people in Mumbai want a safe place to avoid infection, they should probably go there.”

The findings of the study, which was conducted by municipal authorities and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, suggest that despite efforts to contain its spread, Mumbai’s poorest places may have unwittingly pursued the controversial strategy of herd immunity. This describes an approach in which infection is allowed to run through a population to faster neutralise the pathogen’s threat.

About 57 per cent of surveyed people in the slums of Dahisar, Chembur and Matunga had antibodies in their blood, compared to 21.2 per cent found in an April study in New York City, and 14 per cent reported in Stockholm in May.

A “hands-off” approach has been criticised in places like Sweden, where it appears to have resulted in more deaths than neighbouring countries that implemented lockdowns.

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