Amid rising COVID-19 cases across India, Pune and Chennai take up study on reinfections

Authorities have decided to look for IgG antibodies in newly infected people in the two cities, and this will be the first such exercise in the country.

Published: 29th March 2021 04:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2021 07:51 AM   |  A+A-

A man wearing a mask walks past an effigy of Coronavirus which will be burnt as part of a ritual during 'Holi' festival in Mumbai. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Amid an exponential surge of Covid-19 cases in the country, two cities Chennai and Pune that witnessed a high case burden last year and are facing resurgence, have undertaken studies to assess whether people with a history of infection are also getting reinfections.

Authorities have decided to look for IgG antibodies in newly infected people in the two cities, and this will be the first such exercise in the country.

The presence of IgG antibodies against SARS CoV 2 in infected individuals will confirm the history of exposure to the virus earlier. 

This antibody typically appears nearly 14 days after exposure to the virus and lasts for several months.

While in Chennai, the exercise is being carried out by the National Institute of Epidemiology under the ICMR, in collaboration with the city administration, in Pune, the city corporation is taking the help of medical and health research institutes. 

On Sunday, Pune reported  4,625 fresh cases and remained the worst-affected city in the country.

It has raised concerns that apart from the lack of Covid appropriate behaviour, mutants of the virus could have a role to play, that could also mean that the people who have been infected before in cities with high case burdens may be falling prey to the changed pathogen.

“Through this study, we want to understand whether the evidence so far that reinfection is very rare in people once exposed to SARS CoV 2 still holds true or the pandemic dynamics are changing,” said an official involved with the project in Chennai.

J P Muliyil, a senior epidemiologist who is also part of an ICMR group on disease surveillance and epidemiology, said as far as his understanding goes, it’s the people not having been exposed before are catching infection now and seem to be driving the pandemic.

“People have become a bit lax now due to the fatigue factor and assurance by the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines and it’s very humane,” he said. 

“However, if studies do show reinfections in significant numbers of people which I don’t think is likely it could be a worrying scenario. Therefore, a monitoring study like this one is crucial.

New milestone as India’s vaccination count crosses six crore

India on Saturday touched a significant milestone in its Covid-19 vaccination drive. The number of people who have taken the jabs crossed the six crore-mark. In a 24-hour period, 21,54,170 vaccine doses were administered which took the total to 6,02,69,782, according to the Health Ministry data.

The data shows 5,14,41,436 people have received their first doses across the country. Of them, 20,09,805 received their first dose in the last 24 hours.

Also, 1,44,365 received their second dose on the day, taking this tally to 88,28,346.Maharashtra, which is the worst hit state in the country with the maximum Covid-19 caseload, is also leading the vaccination drive, having administered a total of 57,26,036 doses.

In the state, 50,04,331 people have received their first dose, while 7,21,705 have completed their two-dose schedule.

India Matters


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