Nearly half of adult Australians have recently had COVID-19: study

SYDNEY, July 27 (Xinhua) — Nearly half of all adults in Australia have shown signs of COVID-19 in the past three to six months, according to a new national report.

The findings, released Wednesday, showed that in mid-June, 46.2 percent of people ages 18 to 89 had contracted the virus in the preceding months, a quantum leap from the previous study in late February, when about 17 percent of those aged 18 to 89 had contracted the virus. the adults have recently been infected.

The study, overseen by the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the National Center for Immunization Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), was conducted in collaboration with a range of institutions, including Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity, and the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR).

The screening, also known as serosurvey, examined approximately 5,140 samples from blood donors. The researchers were looking for two types of antibodies — one type, the anti-spike antibodies, which indicates that a person has been vaccinated or has built up some natural immunity to the virus as a result of community exposure, while the other antibody, the anti-nucleocapsid protein, which indicates that a person has had a recent COVID-19 infection.

The findings showed that young adults were most affected, with 61.7 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds showing signs of a recent infection, compared to 25.7 percent of 70- to 89-year-olds.

Antibody prevalence was comparable across the country, even in states such as Western Australia (WA), which had avoided high numbers of cases during much of the pandemic.

Epidemiologist Dorothy Machalek of the Kirby Institute said the sero survey showed a flaw in basing COVID-19 statistics purely on the results of people who tested positive.

For example, she pointed out that among the blood donors there would be people who didn’t even know they had the disease because they may have had only “mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all, and they may not always have a test to check for the virus.” to trace.”

“These sero-surves give a more complete picture of how much COVID-19 there is because they measure antibodies to the virus, which are produced when the body’s immune system responds to an infection, and which remain for many months afterward,” he said. Machalek.

The researchers noted that the best protection against serious illness from COVID-19 was to be up-to-date with vaccinations and boosters, in line with current recommendations.

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