Nine out of 10 COVID-19 patients asymptomatic in Karachi: Study

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KARACHI: A new research conducted by Aga Khan University has disclosed that more than nine out of 10 people infected with COVID-19 in Karachi experience no symptoms of the disease.

According to a statement issued by the varsity, more than 2,000 participants participated in the first two phases of the study.

The study focussed on COVID-19’s prevalence in parts of the metropolis with high and low rates of transmission in April and June 2020, as Karachi, which is considered as one of the epicentres of COVID-19, reported the most cases in Pakistan.

The AKU researchers found that 95 percent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 through blood tests, which register the presence of antibodies to fight the disease, reported feeling no symptoms of the illness such as a cough, fever, or sore throat. They were asymptomatic.

They said asymptomatic cases in Pakistan are much higher than the developed world.

Results also indicate that children and adolescents are just as likely to catch the disease as adults. Men and women face the same risk of being infected.

The study also confirmed a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases between April and June 2019 from 0.2 percent to 8.7 percent in low community transmission areas and from 0.4 percent to 15.1 percent in high community transmission sites.

The researchers said, “Understanding how, when and in what types of settings, COVID-19 spreads is critical to developing effective public health and infection prevention measures to break chains of transmission.”

“The sharp increase in antibody levels in an area with low reported cases indicates that the virus continues to spread unchecked in populations where testing rates are sub-optimal,” they added.

They said, “Antibody testing or seroprevalence provides a true picture of the burden of COVID-19 as they capture asymptomatic cases who represent silent carriers of the disease.”

Pakistan is witnessing a drop in COVID-19 cases for the past few weeks. The government has lifted restrictions and lockdowns imposed across the country and allowed resumption of business activity.

Five more people have died in Pakistan today due to the coronavirus, taking the death toll to 6,350.

According to the statistics released by the National Command and Operations Center, 330 more cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the country and the total number has reached 299,233.

At present, the number of active cases in Pakistan is 6,726 and so far 286,157 patients have recovered.

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