1.35% in Tokyo have coronavirus antibodies

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Only 1.35% of people in Tokyo have tested positive for antibodies against the novel coronavirus, the final report of a test conducted by the health ministry showed Tuesday.

The antibody test, the second of its kind, was carried out between Dec. 14 and 26 last year, covering consenting residents in five of the country’s 47 prefectures.

The rate in Tokyo was 13.5 times the level seen in the first survey, conducted in June 2020.

The latest rate stood at 0.69% in Osaka Prefecture, 0.71% in Aichi Prefecture, 0.14% in Miyagi Prefecture and 0.42% in Fukuoka Prefecture.

“Although the rate is different among prefectures, it has been confirmed that many people still do not have antibodies,” the ministry said, pointing out that people are far from a state of herd immunity, in which most people have been infected and have antibodies and the pandemic has subsided.

The ministry recommended that basic infection prevention measures are continued.

The number of participants in the December antibody test came to 3,399 in Tokyo, 2,746 in Osaka, 2,960 in Aichi, 2,860 in Miyagi and 3,078 in Fukuoka.

The ministry released preliminary results of the latest test in February. It reviewed the testing method and conducted detailed examinations of the results to compile the final figures.

As of Dec. 7 last year, just before the test was conducted, the infection rate in Tokyo, calculated based on the cumulative number of infection cases, stood at 0.316%, about one-fourth of the antibody rate. Also in the remaining four prefectures, the antibody rate was two to four times higher than the infection rate, revealing that there are many people who are unaware of their infection.

In the June survey, 0.10% of people in Tokyo tested positive, while the rate for Osaka was 0.17% and that for Miyagi was 0.03%.

Initially, the ministry defined antibody carriers as those who tested positive based on both reagents from two pharmaceutical companies. The number of carriers increased from the preliminary figures after the ministry closely examined the protective effects of the detected antibodies.

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