45 percent of Dhaka residents carry Covid-19 antibodies: study

Staff Correspondent, sukhabor.com: About 45 percent of the population in Dhaka city have developed antibodies to the coronavirus, with the rate climbing to 74 percent among slum-dwellers, according to a new study.

The national-level study found the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 9.8 percent of samples that were tested.

The study, commissioned by the government’s disease control agency IEDCR,

was conducted between April 18 and July 5 by the icddr,b in collaboration with USAID.

The data showed that 45 percent of people in Dhaka were infected with the coronavirus until July 5 and they developed antibodies in the process.

The findings were revealed at a seminar on the emergence and spread of COVID-19 in Dhaka at a hotel in the capital’s Gulshan on Monday.

One of the most densely-populated cities in the world, Dhaka has a population of over 21 million, according to the United Nations’ population estimates. The virus was detected in the samples of 12,699 people living in the 25 wards of Dhaka, equating to an infection rate of 9.8 percent, according to the researchers.

Sixty or more of the 24 percent of the victims. 16 percent aged 15 to 19 years.

Among the infected, around 24 percent were over the age of 60 while 18 percent were between 15-19 years old.

The researchers also found “some information” on reinfections in Bangladesh over the course of the study.

The health directorate’s Additional Director-General (Planning and Development) Meerjady Sabrina Flora, who was the director of IEDCR when the study was conducted, presented the facts and data on the first stage of coronavirus infection at the seminar.

“The information carries a lot of importance. The information that had been given so far was based on the data of those who came to get tested. We didn’t have any information on those who were at home,” she said.

“This survey reveals the extent to which the infection has spread. According to the World Health Organization, one in every ten people is infected. Our data is close to that at 9.8 percent. There the picture here is similar to what it is across the world.”

According to Sabrina Flora, about 1 percent of the participants in the study went to the hospital for treatment.

“This means that the majority of infected people only had mild symptoms. The study found that 82 percent of cases were asymptomatic. They weren’t even aware that they were infected. We don’t know this 82 percent.

“They may spread the disease. That’s why wearing a mask may prevent the disease from being spread and it’s important to remain cautious.”

Health Minister Zahid Maleque also attended the seminar as the chief guest via video link.

“The government has acted quickly to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus. Due to this, the prevalence of coronavirus in the country is low. Compared to many other countries, Bangladesh has done well in controlling coronavirus,” he said.

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