Coronavirus in Mumbai: Sion hospital conducts pilot study for antibodies
Photo Credit: AFP

Mumbai: Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General hospital (Sion Hospital) might have a major breakthrough in detecting antibodies for SARSCoV-2. It is this virus that causes COVID-19. The microbiology department of Sion Hospital is carrying out a pilot study on 2,000 healthcare workers. The team has collected samples of the staff and are analysing the results of the finding. The aim of the study, says the Dean, is to understand the behavioural patterns of the virus on healthcare settings.

This comes after 73 resident doctors working on forefront have been tested positive since this pandemic started. Of which 42 are from Sion, followed by 16 at Nair and 15 at KEM hospitals.

The study is being carried out by the microbiology department of the hospital, for which they have collected blood samples of 2,000 healthcare staff working at the King Edward Memorial (KEM), BYL Nair, Kasturba, SevenHills and Sion hospitals.

“We are using a dual testing kit which is being approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Moreover, we have collected blood samples of those health workers who are on the frontline working for Covid patients,” said a doctor.

Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of Sion hospital, said, the main aim of conducting this study is to check the presence of antibodies and on that basis, health workers will be allowed to work on the frontline. “The presence of antibodies will tell us about the exposure of staff to the virus and if the test can be used as a surveillance tool. Moreover, the rapid testing kits are being used just for the study,” he said.

Doctors said if a person is infected with the novel coronavirus, his body develops antibodies to fight it. The dual testing kit detects two types of antibodies: Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG). Presence of IgM is considered a marker of an ongoing infection, while the presence of IgG indicates an old infection.

“Both antibodies are formed within two weeks after an individual has contracted the infection. IgM remains in the body till a month or so, while IgG stays longer, for nearly three months,” said a doctor.

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