Study shows that over 1.3 million Kenyans had Covid-19 in June

Analysis of blood samples reveals new details

File image of a laboratory technician at the Kenya Medical Research Institute

A study by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) has revealed that up to 1.3 million Kenyans had been infected by the Covid-19 virus by June 2020.

Researchers analysed blood samples collected during blood donation drives in the country at the time.

Over 3,000 people donated blood in the period analysed, at a time when Kenya's confirmed Covid-19 cases were at 6,366.

According to the survey's findings, none of those who gave blood had shown any symptoms of Covid-19.

A number of samples, however, showed the presence of antibodies - a sign that they had fought off the novel infection.

Kemri researchers reported that up to 4% of the analysed samples, which translates to one in 25 Kenyans, had contracted the virus and recovered.

Red zones where positivity rate has remained high throughout the pandemic – Nairobi and the coastal city Mombasa – that figure was one in 12 people.

The main conclusion of the study is that Kenya may have reached the peak of infections much earlier than initially thought.

Kenya's official Covid-19 numbers as of November 12, 2020 indicated 66,723 confirmed cases since March, with cumulative tests at 766,910.

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