Researchers said on Wednesday that, on average, 15% of Brazil’s 210 million people have antibodies against covid-19.
The research conducted by the National Research Foundation (Fapesp) and the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) was conducted from January to the end of April, when the number of infections was high. Researchers have found that antibody levels vary widely across the country.
For example, in the state of Ceara in the northeast, 9.89% of people have antibodies, while in the northern Amazon state, which is severely affected by the pandemic, the proportion is 31.4%. There is even a new native strain called P1.
“These results show that there is a lot of spatial variation in this epidemic. We have several epidemics, not just in Brazil,” said Marcelo Burattini, a principal researcher and professor at Unifespo.
The presence of antibodies to covid-19 indicates that the person may have been infected with the virus at some point, or it may mean that he or she has some immunity.
Brazil has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 450,000 deaths, making it the second most deadly country in the world after the United States. After months of denying the severity of the virus, President Jair Bolsonar has been widely criticized for his management during the pandemic and the slow and uneven introduction of vaccines.
From January 25 to April 24, the survey covered 120,000 people in 133 cities across the country.
Burattini said: “Less than one percent of the people surveyed said they had been vaccinated, while almost no one had received two doses.”