Some promising research on COVID from the lab of Dr. Kondwani Jambo at the highly respected Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust in Blantyre suggests that Malawi is moving into, if not quite endemicity, a much less threatening stage of the pandemic. To the research team’s surprise, a random sample from Malawi’s blood banks found that as much as 80% of Malawi’s population had been infected with some strain of the corona virus by July 2021, before the omicron surge arrived in Malawi. It appears that natural immunity gained from these prior infections afforded protection, and kept hospitalizations and deaths far lower than expected even as omicron spiked in January. The findings may have implications for the COVID response in Malawi such as targeting mitigation and vaccine efforts (fewer than 5% of the population is vaccinated) to the most vulnerable groups, people over 50 or with underlying health conditions.
Read the NPR article here.
Read the Omaha Public Radio Interview with Dr. Jambo here.
Read the BMC Medicine study here.