The study has been conducted on the recommendations of the government constituted Committee for Action Plan for tackling possible third COVID Wave.
In this regard, the training workshop was conducted at Department of Community Medicine Government Medical College Srinagar, the nodal center for sero prevalence study in Kashmir. The partner institutions of the study included departments of Community Medicine at SKIMS, SKIMS Medical College Bemina, Government Medical Colleges Anantnag Baramulla along with Chief Medical Officers or their representatives and epidemiologists of all districts of Kashmir Division.
The survey is monitored by additional chief secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, J&K Atal Dulloo and is being supported by JK National Health Mission and facilitated by directorate of health services Kashmir and J&K.
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 sub unit surveys and blood samples would be collected and later analysed by Department of Biochemistry, Government Medical College Srinagar, a nodal BSL-2 lab for sero-survey.
“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 is also a member of the recommending committee constituted by the government.
“We are expecting soon after district level trainings, the samples are collected in around two weeks and then results expected a week later. This important study would guide the policy makers and implementors about necessary preparations required for possible third wave of SARS CoV-2 Infection within the community and also would indicate about the success of COVID Vaccination among various subsets of population,” he said.
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 a cumulative sero-positivity of around 40% during October last year.
Further Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the premium research centre, also conducted four rounds of Sero prevalence studies across 70 districts of the country since early last year including 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.