Srinagar: A Nationwide survey conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in it nearly 40 institutes revealed that the vegetarians and smokers are at a lesser risk of contracting Covid-19 due to low seropositivity, as per media reports.
The survey also found that those with blood group ‘O’ may be less susceptible to the infection, while people with ‘B’ and ‘AB’ blood groups were at a higher risk.
In order to assess the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2,the CSIR took samples of 10,427 adult individuals working in its laboratories or institutions and their family members on the basis of voluntary participation.
The CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi study recorded that of the 10,427 individuals, 1,058 (10.14 percent) had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.
In July last year, the Ministry of Health and Union reported that smokers were more prone to corona virus as smoking increasing chances of virus transmission from hand to mouth. They even cautioned about consuming tobacco as it may increase the risk of respiratory infections.
However, the new study suggested that the smokers are less vulnerable to the harmful corona virus despite being a respiratory disease. It also suggested that smoking may be protective against it.
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.
However, both the normal antibody as well as the neutralising antibody were much above the required threshold, he said.
repeat sampling of 35 individuals, at six months, revealed declining antibody levels while the neutralising antibody remained stable compared to three months.
“Our finding that smokers are less likely to be seropositive is the first report from the general population and part of growing evidence that despite COVID-19 being a respiratory disease, smoking may be protective,” the study said.
The study found that higher seropositivity was found for those using public transport and with occupational responsibilities such as security, housekeeping personnel, non-smokers, and non-vegetarians.”
“Use of private transport, lower-exposure occupations, smoking, vegetarianism, and ‘A’ or ‘O’ blood groups appeared to be protective, using seropositivity as a surrogate for infection,” the paper added. (PTK)