Covid infection in Wuhan three times higher than official figure: study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 08, 2021

At least two-thirds of the total number were asymptomatic, suggests research

A new study carried out by researchers in China has revealed that the actual figure of the coronavirus infection in Wuhan, where Covid-19 was first identified in 2019, could be three times higher than the official figure.

The researchers have speculated that around 1,68,000 Wuhan residents were infected with SARS-CoV-2, compared to the official number of 50,340 hospitalised cases.

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The research paper, published by the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal, examined blood samples collected from over 60,000 healthy individuals taken from locations across China between March and May last year.

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Research findings

The study found that 1.68 per cent of those from Wuhan contained antibodies for coronavirus, compared to 0.59 per cent in surrounding Hubei province and 0.38 per cent in the rest of the country.

The findings revealed that at least two-thirds of the total number were asymptomatic, and thousands could have been infected after the ‘elimination’ of clinical cases.

The researchers predicted the possibility the virus may have circulated in Wuhan for a long period without leading to hospitalisations.

Another study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2020 reported the seroprevalence rate in Wuhan at 4.43 per cent, higher than the current study’s estimation. This implied that almost half a million people in the city could have been infected.

Published on January 08, 2021

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