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Study shows 40% of some Cape Town residents have been exposed to Covid-19

CapeTalk logo CapeTalk 2020-09-08
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A study of people who visited healthcare facilities in Cape Town for antenatal care and routine HIV tests found that 40% of respondents had antibodies against the coronavirus.

CapeTalk's John Maytham spoke to study leader Marvin Hsiao, a virologist at the National Health Laboratory Service and the University of Cape Town to unpack the findings.

The high seroprevalence does indicate that, at least in the population that we sampled, a high proportion of the population has been exposed...

Marvin Hsiao, Lead author /virologist at the National Health Laboratory Service - University of Cape Town

That would explain our current epidemic trajectory, as in, a lot of people have been affected so the ongoing transmission is decreasing because the active causes are now able to spread to someone who is not immune.

Marvin Hsiao, Lead author /virologist at the National Health Laboratory Service - University of Cape Town

Hsiao says they would have expected to see an upsurge in the number of cases, with the ease of the lockdown to level 2, but that hasn't happened, suggesting a large part of the population has already been exposed.

There are not that many reasons, in the absence of any new, additional intervention, why we have not had a lot of new cases, other than there are many people that have been affected and therefore the transmission of the virus is less efficient.

Marvin Hsiao, Lead author /virologist at the National Health Laboratory Service - University of Cape Town

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