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Africa launches study on coronavirus antibodies


Ruth Irumva (right) undergoes a COVID-19 test at a testing center in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on July 28, 2020. (AP Photo)

The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the launch of a continent-wide study of coronavirus antibodies after evidence indicated that far more people were infected than official figures indicate.

The study will include all African nations, but Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria and Morocco are those that have shown interest in starting in the coming weeks, the institution’s director, John Nkengasong, told reporters.

The study comes after surveys in Mozambique found antibodies in 5% of households in the city of Nampula and 2.5% of those in Pemba. And yet Mozambique has just 2,481 confirmed cases.

“The important thing is that very few people get the disease. How many people are infected and asymptomatic on our continent? We don’t know,” Nkengasong said.

The youth of the African population, with an average age of 19, could be one of the factors.