Arvind Kejriwal says Delhi is moving towards herd immunity, experts caution saying antibodies may fade away quickly

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said that has said Delhi is moving towards “herd immunity” and claimed that at least one-third of its population had developed antibodies against the coronavirus, reports Economic Times.

According to the reports, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said his main objective now was to make sure there are no more lockdowns in the national capital. The Chief Minister also said that Delhi is now prepared to restart metro services as the city is crawling back to normalcy.

Citing the recent Sero survey conducted across 11 districts in Delhi by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Delhi government, Arvind Kejriwal said that the survey conducted between June 27 and July 10 showed almost 24% people had antibodies against coronavirus.

“If it was almost 24% early June, it must have crossed 30-35%. Whether we have achieved herd immunity or not, only experts can say. But we are moving towards herd immunity,” said Arvind Kejriwal.

Arvind Kejriwal said that the downward trend in coronavirus in Delhi was achieved due to his three-pronged strategy – home isolation, testing and significantly increasing oxygen-supported beds. He said home isolation was the most significant takeaway from the Delhi Model.

Kejriwal said that migrant labourers were returning. “Earlier, they left as numbers in Delhi were rising, now they are returning as numbers in their native states are rising,” he added.

On the resumption of metro services in Delhi, the CM said, “I feel Delhi is ready to open its Metro seeing the number of cases today. We will talk to the Centre.”

Delhi sero-survey results

According to the newly published survey conducted by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) across Delhi, the prevalence of IgG antibodies is 23.48 percent, indicating that a large number of infected persons remain asymptomatic. The survey was conducted from 27 June 2020, to 10 July 2020.

Nearly six months into the epidemic, over 43 lakh people may have been affected in Delhi, which has several pockets of dense population. It is being said that the proactive efforts taken by the Modi government to prevent the spread of infection, including a prompt lockdown, effective containment and surveillance measures like contact tracing and tracking, addition to the citizen’s compliance to regulations has helped in limiting the spread.

Experts says antigens may not provide long lasting immunity

As Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is eager to get back to normalcy claiming that at least one-third of Delhi’s population has achieved ‘herd immunity’, experts have advised the authorities to be cautious stating that antibodies in mildly symptomatic coronavirus patients will fade away quickly, which may not provide lasting immunity to them.

Reportedly, the antibodies of the mildly affected coronavirus patients may not offer much lasting protection against future infections, indicating that herd immunity may not provide safety against another onslaught of the pandemic.

According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the antibodies taken from the blood of 34 patients who had mild symptoms did not require intensive care but only needed two supplemental oxygen and received HIV medication.

The researchers found that the antibody levels fell quickly after they recovered, with a half-life of about 73 days between the infection and recovery frames. The loss of antibodies occurred much faster than with SARS, an earlier type of coronavirus infection that caused an outbreak in 2002-03.

Most importantly, the mildly infected people may not have lasting COVID-19 antibodies and most cases of COVID-19 around the world are mildly symptomatic – which means that most population in the world may have the risk of contracting the infection one more time.

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