COVID Sero Prevalence Study Starts Across Kashmir

SRINAGAR: The first seroprevalence study of SARS CoV-2 Infection during 2021 begins in Kashmir, said GMC Srinagar official spokesman in a statement.

The spokesman in a statement said that the study has been conducted on the recommendations of the government constituted committee for an action plan for tackling a possible third COVID wave.

He said that in this regard, the training workshop was conducted at the Department of Community Medicine Government Medical College Srinagar, the nodal center for seroprevalence study in Kashmir, with partner institutions including departments of Community Medicine at SKIMS, SKIMS Medical College Bemina, Government Medical Colleges Anantnag Baramullah along with Chief Medical Officers or their representatives and epidemiologists of all districts of Kashmir Division.

“The survey is personally monitored by the additional chief secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, J&K Atal Dulloo and is being supported by JK National Health Mission and facilitated by the directorate of health services Kashmir and J&K,” he said, adding that during this survey, children from seven years and above, adult population, pregnant women, health care providers, and police personnel would be sampled with support from respective Deputy Commissioners and Chief Medical Officers staff and shall be monitored by five medical colleges/ institutions with each covering two districts. During the house to house survey, across ten clusters in each district, the data shall be entered in Epicollect5 mobile app which has been customized for various subunit surveys and blood samples would be collected and later analyzed by the Department of Biochemistry, Government Medical College Srinagar, a nodal BSL-2 lab for serosurvey.

“The blood samples would be tested for detecting Antibodies which would show body response to infection as well as Immunization,” said Dr S Muhammad Salim Khan, HOD Community Medicine Government Medical College Srinagar who’s also the member of the recommending committee constituted by the government.

“We are expecting soon after district level training, the samples are collected in around two weeks and then results expected a week later,” he said.

This important study would guide the policymakers and implementors about necessary preparations required for possible third wave of SARS CoV-2 Infection within the community and also would indicate the success of COVID Vaccination among various subsets of the population.

Pertinently four rounds of Sero Survey were conducted in Srinagar last year and one pan Kashmir district-wise study was conducted in all districts of Kashmir which showed cumulative seropositivity of around 40% during October last year. Further Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the premium research centre, also conducted four rounds of Seroprevalence studies across 70 districts of the country since early last year including a recent one in June this year which included Pulwama district in J&K which was facilitated by Department of Community Medicine GMC Srinagar in collaboration with district administration and health authorities of Pulwama district.

A similar seroprevalence study is expected to start in the Jammu division soon that would give the overall prevalence of COVID immunity status in the population of Jammu and Kashmir, an official spokesman said.

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