84% population in Kashmir has Covid19 antibodies
Health workers cross a makeshift bridge in Doodhpathri area of central Kashmir's Budgam to administer COVID-19 jabs to people. File: Mubashir Khan/ GK

84% population in Kashmir has Covid19 antibodies

Srinagar: Depicting widespread prevalence of COVID19 infection in Kashmir, nearly 9 out of every 10 people here have been found to have antibodies against SARS-CoV2 due to a past infection and subsequent recovery, a pan-district sero-prevalence study, results of which were released today has shown.

From 31 percent at the end of 2020, the percentage of people who have been confirmed to have IgG-II antibodies in their blood samples has risen to 84.3.

Antibodies are produced in human body as response to an infection, symptomatic or asymptomatic. Antibodies are also generated safely with vaccination.

The samples of 3586 individuals collected in July from across 10 districts of Kashmir were analyzed for the survey, the report released today.

The IgG-II or the anti spike protein antibody are produced after infection with SARS CoV -2 as well as after vaccination, the report read.

In addition, IgM antibody which is usually produced by recent infection with SARS Cov-2 and can rarely also be produced in recent vaccination was detected in 20.75 percent of participants.

Significantly, at the time of the survey, nearly 80 percent of population had received no dose of COVID9 vaccine. Currently, nearly 25 percent of population in J&K is fully vaccinated as per J&K Government data. However, since then the vaccination has scaled up and the sero-positivity due to vaccination would have gone up also.

The significance of the survey, Dr S Muhammad Salim Khan, HOD Community Medicine Government College Srinagar and principal investigator of the study said, was that it offered an insight into the extent of the spread of COVID19 in the community.

He said that it was generally assumed that the antibodies and immunity were synonymous but it depended on many factors. However, he said, antibodies could reduce the severity as well as the duration of the infection.

All districts in Kashmir showed similar antibody prevalence according to the report. With the slight variations, the highest sero-prevalence was detected in district Srinagar with 89.8 percent people sero-positive and the lowest in Pulwama with 78.2 percent positive.

Prof Khan said people need not to be complacent with the results as new variants, as are emerging at many places in the world, could apprehend immune escape. “We need to follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour and all SOPs and those who haven't gone for vaccination yet, shall do it urgently,” he said.

Many Medical Institutes and Health departments collaborated for a district-wise survey of COVID19 antibodies. The report cover note said that many sub groups including police personnel, healthcare workers, pregnant women were included.

“The survey was carried out by Government Medical College Srinagar in collaboration with Community Medicine departments of SKIMS, SKIMS Medical College Srinagar, Government Medical College Anantnag and Government Medical College Baramullah with full support and cooperation from directorate of health sciences Kashmir and supported by National Health Mission. The Department of Community Medicine GMC Srinagar was the nodal center while all testing procedures were conducted by department of Biochemistry, GMC Srinagar. The study was approved by institutional ethics committee of GMC Srinagar.”

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