Large Proportion Of Population Susceptible To COVID-19, Infection Can Spread: ICMR

The ICRM said this on the basis of sero-surveillance to monitor the trend of SARS-CoV-2 infection transmission.

COVID19

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said that large proportion of the population is susceptible to COVID-19 and infection can spread. However, India has not reached the community transmission phase. The ICRM said this on the basis of sero-surveillance to monitor the trend of SARS-CoV-2 infection transmission.

Here’s all you need to know about the survey:

What is serological survey?

  • Blood samples collected from general population and tested for IgG antibodies
  • If a person is IgG positive, it means they were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the past

Serosurveys are expected to answer the following questions

  • What percentage of the general population has been infected by the virus?
  • Who are at higher risk of getting infection?
  • Which are the areas where containment efforts need to be strengthened?

Serosurvey for COVID

  • ICMR conducted the first serosurvey in May 2020
  • In collaboration with state health departments, NCDC, and WHO India

Serosurvey had 2 parts

  • PART I: Estimate fraction of population who has been infected with SARSCoV-2 in general population (COMPLETED)
  • PART II: Estimate fraction of population who has been infected with SARSCoV-2 in containment zones of hotspot cities (ONGOING)

Data and blood sample collection

  • Data collection
  • Socio-demographic details
  • History of respiratory symptoms
  • Written informed consent and ethics clearance
  • Blood sample collection
  • 3-5 ml of blood sample
  • Laboratory investigations
  • Sera tested for IgG antibodies, infection using COVID KAVACH ELISA

PART I: Population based serosurvey in districts

  • Districts into four groups based on number of reported COVID-19 cases (incidence)
    Zero cases
  • Low incidence
  • Medium incidence
  • High incidence
  • Selected minimum 15 districts from each group
  • 400 individuals from each district
  • Selected 10 villages/urban wards randomly
  • From each village/ward, enrolled 40 adults
  • Only one adult enrolled from each household

Results

  • 0.73% of the population in these districts had evidence of past exposure to SARSCoV-2
  • Lockdown/containment has been successful in keeping it low & preventing rapid spread
  • However, it means that a large proportion of the population is still susceptible
  • Risk is higher in Urban (1.09); Urban Slums (1.89) times higher than rural areas
  • Infection fatality rate is very low 0.08%
  • Infection in containment zones were found to be high with significant variations (still ongoing)

Conclusion: Way forward…

  • Since, large proportion of the population is susceptible and infection can spread
  • Non Pharmacological Interventions such as physical distancing, use of face mask/cover, hand hygiene, cough etiquette must be followed strictly
  • Urban slums highly vulnerable for the spread of infection
  • Local lockdown measures need to continue as already advised by GOI
  • High risk groups: Elderly, chronic morbidities, pregnant women & children less 10 years of age need to be protected
  • Efforts to limit the scale and spread of the disease will have to be continued by strong implementation of containment strategies by the states
  • The states cannot lower their guard & need to keep on implementing effective surveillance and containment strategies

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