HomeCURRENT AFFAIRSHEALTHSmokers and vegetarians at lesser risk of getting infected by coronavirus

Smokers and vegetarians at lesser risk of getting infected by coronavirus

Smokers and vegetarians were found to have lower seropositivity indicating that they may be at a lesser risk of getting infected by coronavirus, according to a pan-India serosurvey conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in its nearly 40 institutes.

The CSIR survey also reveled, a person with blood group ‘O’ may be less susceptible to the infection, while people with ‘B’ and ‘AB’ blood groups were at a higher risk.

For its study, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) took samples of 10,427 adult individuals working in its laboratories or institutions and their family members, based on voluntary participation, to assess the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

A follow up on 346 seropositive individuals among the samples after three months revealed ‘stable’ to ‘higher’ antibody levels against SARS-CoV-2, but declining plasma activity for neutralizing the virus, Shantanu Sengupta, senior scientist at IGIB and one of the co-authors of the paper said.

A repeat sampling of 35 individuals, at six months, revealed declining antibody levels while the neutralising antibody remained stable compared to three months.

However, both the normal antibody as well as the neutralising antibody were much above the required threshold, he said.

In July last year, the Ministry of Health of the Union reported that smokers were likely to be more vulnerable to Covid-19, as smoking increases the risk of virus transmission from hand to mouth, and cautioned that smoking tobacco products may increase the severity of respiratory infections and render people susceptible to coronavirus.

Shantanu Sengupta, senior scientist at IGIB and one of the co-authors of the paper said this is for the first time that a study has been conducted in India wherein individuals have been monitored for three months (35 individuals) to six months (346 individuals) for antibodies including those with probable neutralising activity.

The CSIR has some 40 institutes covering the length and the breadth of the country and each specialises in different fields. The IGIB and its sister institute Centre of Cellular and Molecular Biology have been at the forefront in conducting the genome sequencing of coronavirus.

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