40% Srinagar population has developed antibodies against COVID: Survey

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The latest sero-prevalence study carried out in Srinagar shows that 40.6 percent of the population in the district has antibodies against COVID19: 2 out of every 5 residents may now be safe from the viral infection.

The result of the second round of sero-prevalence study in district Srinagar was released today by GMC Srinagar. The survey involved 2361 participants from various rural and urban areas of the district. The blood samples of the participants were analysed and the researchers found 40.6 percent of those sampled (959) had antibodies for SARS-COV2. “It is a significant finding. In the previous few months, the infection has spread manifold,” said Prof S Mohammad Salim Khan, head department of social and preventive medicine at GMC Srinagar and the principal investigator of the study. He said the results were evidence that a significantly high number of the population in this district had been exposed to SARS-CoV2 and recovered well.

Prof Khan said that the results, if extrapolated on general population of Srinagar district, will have around 6 lakh population here presumably to be sero positive to SARS COV-2 infection. The population estimate for Srinagar is nearly 15 lakh.

Data reveals that sero-prevalence was more in women than men and that sero-prevalence was more in people with higher age and those who had experienced influenza-like illness in the previous three months. Among those with antibodies, 58.6 percent had symptoms of influenza in the past three months and 38.3 percent had none of its symptoms.

Among the samples of people, who had been confirmed to be positive for COVID19 in the past, 82 percent had antibodies, while 18 percent, even after they had been infected (confirmed by a test) had no antibodies. 115 such people were part of the participants. In people who had a negative COVID19 test (Rapid Antigen Test or RT-PCR), 37 percent had been found to have antibodies. 432 such people had been tested.

Although the research is still going on across countries, there is a consensus that COVID19 antibodies may offer some degree of protection against getting infected again. The antibodies, as per the available data, have been seen to persist over three months. Prof Khan said that the previous sero-prevalence study carried out in Srinagar in the month of June 2020 had shown that only 3.8 percent of the population here had antibodies.

The survey has been done in 20 clusters of Srinagar. The results show that Khumaini Chowk Srinagar has the highest sero-prevalence (66.9 percent). Bemina West, Hassanabad Rainawari, Idd Gah and Chattabal areas also had high sero-prevalence. One out of every two people in these areas had recovered from COVID19 infection and had antibodies, the data showed.

The study had been carried out in collaboration with CMO Srinagar, Directorate of Health Services and supported by JK National Health Mission. The survey had started on October 17th. A similar study panning over entire Kashmir is underway.

“Blood samples of both rounds of sero prevalence study in district Srinagar were tested on high end Architect analyser of Abbott Laboratories which was also used by ICMR during their recent country wide sero survey 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 the Institutional ethical committee of GMC Srinagar. 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 Qurieshi Assistant Professor Community Medicine and Co-Principal investigator of the study.