COVID-19: Second Sero Survey In Srinagar Shows Prevalence Of 40.6%

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SRINAGAR: Government Medical College Srinagar’s Departments of Community Medicine and Biochemistry in collaboration with CMO Srinagar, Directorate of Health Services and supported by JK National Health Mission conducted the second round of Seroprevalence study in district Srinagar which showed that 40.6% of the sampled population have developed antibodies when the study was conducted this month.

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An official statement said that the serosurvey was conducted in twenty clusters across Srinagar district coving both urban and rural areas.

“Incidentally the prevalence was found more among women and in the elderly population. Around 82% persons who had previously tested positive for COVID using rtPCR/ RAT showed IgG antibodies within their blood samples while surprisingly 37% who have tested negative on rtPCR / RAT also showed the presence of antibodies against SARS CoV-2 Infection,” said the statement.

“Some areas showed over one half to two-thirds of the sampled population to have positive samples for COVID antibodies. Nine hundred fifty-nine (959) samples were positive for IgG against SARS-CoV-2  giving a seroprevalence of 40.6%,” it said.

“Out of the 2,361 participants, 1,335 were male and 1,026 were female. The seroprevalence was significantly higher among females (459/1026=44.7%) as compared to males (500/1335=37.5%),” it added.

The statement said that the seroprevalence also increased significantly with age. Those with a history of ILI-symptoms in the previous three months and those with a history of contact with a known COVID-19 case had higher seroprevalence as compared to their counterparts with no such history.

“Out of a total of 115 participants who reported having a positive COVID-19 test  (RAT/RT-PCR) ever, 95 (82.6%) were seropositive,” it said.

“Among the 432 participants who reported a negative COVID-19 test (RAT/RT-PCR), 159 (36.8%) were seropositive,” it added.

“The present study showed a many-fold increase in Seropositivity among Srinagar population as compared to our previous study conducted in June this year where seroprevalence of SARS CoV-2 Infection in Srinagar district was just 3.8%. It shows that majority of the population has been exposed to SARS COV-2 virus and we shall still continue to follow SOPs religiously to prevent infection among vulnerable populations especially elderly and persons with co-morbidities, said Dr S Muhammad Salim Khan, professor and HOD Community Medicine Government Medical College Srinagar and principal investigator of the study.

“Blood samples of both rounds of Seroprevalence study in district Srinagar were tested on high-end Architect analyser of Abbott Laboratories which was also used by ICMR during their recent countrywide serosurvey of SARS CoV-2 Infection in India,” said Dr Sabhiya Majid, professor and HOD of Biochemistry department GMC Srinagar and Co-Principal investigator of the study.

“The study was approved by Institutional ethical committee of GMC Srinagar and we took informed consent from all participants during the study while each participant was provided participant information sheet in local language. All aseptic precautions were taken during sample collection carried out by technical staff provided by chief medical officer Srinagar,” said Dr Inaamul Haq, assistant professor, Community Medicine GMC Srinagar, Co-Principal investigator.

“We used a customized version of Epicollect5 mobile application for data collection and real-time data capture was done for effective analysis,” said Dr Mariya Amin Qureshi Assistant Professor Community Medicine and Co-Principal investigator of the study.

“If we extrapolate the results of the study on the general population of Srinagar district, we may presume that around 6 lac population must be expected to be seropositive to SARS COV-2 infection amongst 15 Lac population in Srinagar district,” said Dr Muhammad Salim Khan.

He further added that sero survey is undergoing in nine other districts of Kashmir division this time and their results are expected soon.

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