Community-based serosurvey to be carried out in 6 Maharashtra districts

Mumbai: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in collaboration with the department of health and family welfare, has selected six districts from the state, including Beed, Parbhani, Nanded, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Sangli for the fourth community-based sero survey to estimate the prevalence of Covid infections within the population.

The survey is coordinated by ICMR’s National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) and National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT), Chennai. This household-level cross-sectional survey will cover 28,000 adults, distributed across 70 districts across the country.

Serological samples are being collected from 40 individuals of 10 clusters (rural and urban areas) from each district for the general population and 100 healthcare workers from the district hospital or taluk hospital. Children above 6 years will also be included in the survey.

Blood samples will be tested for the presence of IgG (Immunoglobulin G) antibodies that determine a past infection due to Covid. Sero survey is important to determine if the disease has entered the community transmission stage or not.

Dr. Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer and nodal officer appointed by the ICMR to conduct National Sero survey in six districts of the state, said around 3,000 samples will be collected from six districts; of which 600 samples will be of healthcare workers from each district. Moreover, they will be collecting samples of 720 children between 6 to 18 years of age.

“The fourth national Covid-19 sero survey will throw light on the impact of the second wave has on the transmission of the virus in India and will provide an opportunity to estimate the proportion of the vaccinated people at the community level,” he added. The ongoing fourth survey between June and July is a population-based one to measure the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, natural and vaccine induced, in different age groups.

Meanwhile a total of 30 clusters from Beed, Parbhani and Nanded districts of Marathwada have been asked to gear up for the fourth sero survey. Apart from these, Sangli, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar districts have also been randomly selected for the crucial exercise to test antibodies that determine past infection due to Covid-19. However the sero survey will be conducted at 11 identified locations including rural and urban clusters and one state-run district hospital.

“The periodic sero surveys, for which districts are selected randomly, are very essential to have a fine understanding of the spread of Covid. The crucial exercise cannot be completed without the support of the public. We appeal to the citizens from the identified clusters to join the survey without any stigma or fear,” said a senior health official from the state health department.

As per official data, Beed district will have a maximum of eight clusters from rural areas under the sero survey and two clusters from urban areas. Nanded and Parbhani districts will have eight clusters each from rural areas and two each from urban areas.

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