At least half of Indians have COVID-19 antibodies: Credit Suisse
Leading financial services company Credit Suisse revealed at least half of the Indian population, as per its estimates, would now have developed antibodies against COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus. Neelkanth Mishra, Co-head of Asia Pacific Strategy and India Equity Strategist, Credit Suisse, said many Indian districts would have moved beyond the herd immunity phase even for the highly infectious Delta variant. Here's more.
About 77 crore Indians would have already developed COVID-19 antibodies
Speaking to The Print, Mishra said as per Credit Suisse's estimates about 77 crore people in India would have already developed COVID-19 antibodies—a little more than half of India's population. This high seroprevalence of COVID-19 antibodies and the ongoing relaxation of lockdown and other restrictions across many states may even lead to a "steep rebound" of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the country.
Estimates based on hypotheses; national seroprevalence survey recommended: Mishra
Moreover, Mishra said these estimates are based only on hypotheses and not the real-time status. "We recommend a granular and nationwide seroprevalence study," he said. Credit Suisse's estimates are based on the Indian Council of Medical Research's third serological survey that showed by mid-December 2020, 21.4% of Indians were infected and the infection-to-case ratio was 28x—one crore cases and 28 crore people with antibodies.
Positive test ratios higher in second wave
Mishra noted there were higher positive test ratios in the second COVID-19 wave compared to the first wave and hence ratio of those with antibodies in this wave would at least be the same as the first wave and "possibly even higher."
Mishra explains how 77 crore Indians would have developed antibodies
Estimating the number of people with antibodies, Mishra said, "If, to be conservative, one model with 20x, we are at about 60 crore infections (28 crore in the first wave and 32 crore in the second wave) in addition to 17 crore people with at least one jab of the vaccine." So, about 77 crore people in the country would now have developed antibodies.
It's estimated many districts would be well beyond herd immunity
Mishra said, "From this (estimated 77 crore with antibodies) you take out say 5 crore for double-counting—such as people infected twice or thrice or overlaps between those with infections and those with vaccination—and you still have around half the population with antibodies." "If you use 30x, many districts would be well beyond herd immunity even for the much more infectious Delta variant," he added.
A steep rebound of GDP in India likely: Mishra
Mishra also spoke about the GDP, saying it should witness a significant improvement as lockdown restrictions are being lifted gradually—the rebound would be "steep." "If active cases continue to fall...steeply...relaxation of lockdowns is likely to be faster. While we need to be on the lookout for another surge...as activities resume, the likely high seroprevalence should reduce the risk of that occurrence," he said.