2.6 Million Kenyans Have COVID-19, KEMRI Says After Testing Blood Donated Across the country

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In Summary,

  • The blood samples were tested donated across the country between April 30 and June 16 2020.
  • The samples were from blood donated by Kenyans in various hospitals
  • The prevalence of antibodies to the COVID-19 virus ranged from 1.1% in the blood that was donated in Uasin Gishu County to 12.4% in Nairobi.

A policy brief released by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) shows that more than 2.6 million people in Kenya have contracted Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

KEMRI scientists tested sample for Corona Virus antibodies from the blood donated by Kenyans across the country between April 30 and June 16 2020.

From the tests, the prevalence of antibodies to the COVID-19 virus ranged from 1.1% in the blood that was donated in Uasin Gishu County to 12.4% in Nairobi.

This shows that more than 550,000 and 100,000 people in Nairobi and Mombasa counties respectively have already contracted COVID-19 and recovered with some having been infected as early as March.

“The large numbers of the population that have been exposed would lead models to predict significant numbers of severe cases and deaths. However, the county hospitals in which monitoring for pneumonia admissions is established are not seeing high numbers of admissions,” part of Kemri report reads.

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The report notes that the normal PCR tests being done across the country on the throat and nose swabs only reveal active infections but cannot reveal people who have recovered from Coronavirus.

The report contradicts the data from the Ministry of Health which by Thursday, July 3 2020, showed that Kenya had a total of 6,941 confirmed cases.

However, Public Health Specialist Dr Richard Ayah disagreed with the report from KEMRI saying that the ideal way of estimating the spread of the pandemic in the country would be randomly visiting selected homesteads to collect blood samples for testing.

According to Dr Ayah, KEMRI report is a result of data based on convenient sampling and cannot be applied on the general population since the sample sizes are too small for results to be extrapolated to the Kenyan population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F. Wachira

Senior Digital Media Strategist

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