70% of Nepal’s population developed Covid antibodies, finds study

Almost 70 percent of Nepal’s population have developed Covid antibodies, a large-scale seroprevalence study carried by the Ministry of Health and Populations has found.

“As per our findings, around 68. 6 percent of the total population have developed Covid antibodies,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday, noting that means out of 30 million total population, 20 million have already developed the antibodies.

Though just 14.2 percent population is fully vaccinated and 17.7 percent population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, it is estimated that the rest of the population has been infected with Covid-19.

Official figures show that only 759,222 people have been infected by Covid, out of 30 million. It is said that around four million people are out of the country or living and working in India, Gulf countries, Malaysia, and others.

A seroprevalence study or a serology test examines the presence of antibodies for a specific disease in a population. When a human body is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it produces antibodies in response.

Experts say that the seroprevalence survey was necessary as it would provide data on the prevalence of coronavirus in communities, and help authorities prepare strategies for locating hotspots and taking necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Such a study can also tell authorities how many people in a specific population may have contracted the virus. The ministry said that it carried out the seroprevalence test from July 5 to August 14 and blood samples of 13, 161 individuals were analyzed.

The antibodies were found in all age groups, all kinds of geographies, professions, and sexes.

The ministry also assessed the efficacy of the Covid vaccine during the study. Those people who had received only one dose of the vaccine have developed 80 percent antibodies against Covid while those who were inoculated with both doses developed 90 percent antibodies.

With these studies, Covid vaccines are found very effective against the Covid-19, the ministry said.

Nepal has been administering various kinds of the Covid vaccine developed by different companies. Initially, it began using Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and then Vero Cell produced by China’s Sinopharm, J&J of the US, the AstraZeneca vaccine made in Japan. The highest number of people have received China’s Vero Cell.

As of Monday (August 23), the country has received 13,227,590 doses of vaccines – of AstraZeneca, Vero Cell, and Janssen. Nepal launched its vaccination campaign on January 27 with 1 million doses of Covishield received in grant assistance from India.

Nepal on Sunday reported 1,214 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours taking the nationwide infection tally to 759,222. The countrywide death toll has now reached 10,714. The number of active cases stands at 35,796.

According to the ministry, 712,712 infected people have recovered from the disease so far.

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