20% of South Africans ‘may have had Covid-19’

SOUTH Africa’s Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says new research estimates 12 million people – about 20% of the country’s population  could already have been infected with corona virus.

This is much higher than the official cumulative number of detected Covid-19 cases which is 650,749.

The research is based on examining seroprevalence – the amount of antibodies present in a patient’s bloodstream.

In a statement released on Monday night, Dr Mkhize said a decline in cases has raised questions of what level of immunity might exist in the country.

He explained initial samples had shown “seroprevalence of between 29 and 40%”.

A national seroprevalence study is now underway.

The results of a similar study in England published in August found that 6% of people had antibodies to corona virus. The prevalence was highest in London, where the number rose to 13% .

It is unclear how long immunity to corona virus lasts, or whether being exposed to the virus means an individual is protected from being infected a second time.

By BBC

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