In a latest sero survey conducted at slum areas of south Mumbai's Cuffe Parade area, it was found out that 75% of the residents living in these slums have already developed COVID-19 antibodies, this indicates that 75% of these people have already been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
This is one of the highest sero positivity rate recorded in the country and the positivity rate in this study is also higher than the BMC study conducted earlier in October which showed sero positivity rate in slum areas was around 45%.
The tests were conducted by collecting blood samples of the residents between October 5 and 10 at the slum areas of Macchimar Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar (Transit Camp), Ganesh Murti Nagar - Part 1 and 3 and Geeta Nagar. The survey was a joint initiative of Harshita Narwekar - municipal corporator A ward and the Eyebetes Foundation.
Total 806 people were surveyed for the study of which 605 people had developed COVID19 antibodies. The study also showed that only one% of the residents have underwent COVID19 diagnosis in the past, which means that 99% of the resident size were asymptomatic.
Corporator Narwekar stated that the results will be helpful in terms of building a road map for vaccine distribution.
"More than 75 of the slum areas residents have developed antibodies which means they don't have an immediate requirement of the vaccines. This clearly states that more sero surveys are needed to be conducted by the BMC as Mumbai is a diverse city to get a clearer picture" Narwekar told FPJ.
Narwekar had been insisting the BMC to conduct a sero surveillance since July this year. As the civic body didn't respond, she preferred conducting the tests with a private property.
"The slum areas of Cuffe Parade were not part of sero surveys conducted by the BMC during September this year. This survey was necessary in our ward as many people from the slum areas are employed as domestic helps and drivers in the residential buildings and corporate offices" she added.
Dr. Nishant Kumar, who had lead the medical team stated the test results astonished him and he opted for rechecking the sample size.
"We had to recheck 20% of the samples as the positivity rate was really high and we needed to be double sure" Kumar told FPJ.
The doctor informed the survey results will vary area wise as itis heavily influenced by factors like the social stature of the samples, how many people living together in a house and how many people living at an house.
"In slum areas the positivity rate is higher because generally more number of people live in a single room and the number of people using common toilets is also higher" Kumar added.