Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally tested more than 10,000 people in Mumbai under sero-survey to monitor the trend of the prevalence of Sars-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19. The report of the first survey will be released next week. The same survey will be repeated next month in the same wards to compare the spread of the virus and draw up strategies to combat it. The BMC, in partnership with NITI-Aayog, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Mumbai and other institutions, will undertake sero-survey in MWest, F-North and R-North wards, which contribute 10 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the city.
The F-North covers Matunga, Sion and Wadala while the M-West includes Chembur and Tilak Nagar. Dahisar and Mandapeshwar fall under R-North, which currently has the highest daily growth rate.
Sero-surveillance is done through a blood test to get an estimate of antibody levels against vaccine preventable diseases. For this, 10,000 samples will be collected randomly from slum and non-slum areas from participants above 12 years of age. The teams will visit households and collect basic demographic information, contact history and details of comorbidities.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC said the survey was started since July 1 and till Friday they completed collecting 10,000 samples. “We have started with slum pockets but will also collect samples from non-slum areas. It is a random sampling, therefore, if a male member from the first residence in a slum is part of the survey, then a female member from, say, the fourth home is included and then, say, a senior citizen from the twelfth. We are also collecting samples on the basis of age brackets—12-24 years, 24-40, 40-60, and 60 and above.” The ward has tied up with a laboratory in the area where participants can give their blood samples for the sero survey. “This wil provide information about new coronavirus patients and also give information as to how far the virus has spread,” he said.
Dr Shashank Joshi, part of the state’s COVID-19 Task Force said the surveillance gives an idea of the spread of COVID-19 in the general population and immunity against it. “It will help authorities strengthen contact-tracing and containment strategies,” he said.
Dr Rahul Pandit, Director-Intensive Care, Fortis Hospital, who is also a member of state government-appointed COVID19 Task Force, said a serological survey includes IgG Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test.
“The IgG test is not useful for detecting acute infections, but it indicates episodes of infections that have happened in the past. The test is approved by ICMR for its high sensitivity and specificity,” he said.