The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted the fourth round of “National sero-survey for COVID-19” in June 2021 in the same 70 districts in which the first three rounds were conducted.
This survey covered general population aged 6 years and above and Health Care Workers working in district hospitals of these districts.
As per an official handout by GMC Srinagar, the findings of the serosurvey shows 61.2% sero positive rate among general population while the health care providers showed whopping 81.1% sero positive response to COVID infection in Pulwama, the district from J&K studied in the survey.
Nation-wide, the sero prevalence is around 67.6% in general population while in health care providers, it’s 85.2%.
The sero prevalence has been found much higher among vaccinated persons at 89.8% among fully vaccinated persons as against 62.3% among unvaccinated subjects.
In Jammu & Kashmir, the survey was conducted in Pulwama district through Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar during third week of June with full support from DC Pulwama Baseer-ul-Haq Choudhary, CMO Pulwama Dr. Hassina Mir, Epidemiologist Dr. Syed Arshad, BMOs, MOs, and lab and field staff of district Pulwama.
A total of 430 blood samples were collected across already designated 10 cluster and 106 samples from health care providers in district Pulwama, said Dr. S. Muhammad Salim Khan, HOD Community Medicine and Nodal Officer for Pulwama study by ICMR.
In last three rounds conducted in 2020 by ICMR in Pulwama district, the sero-prevalence of SARS CoV-2 infection among general population was found to be 2%, 27.3% and 31.5% respectively during the months of May-June, August-September and December.
This fourth round has important significance due to widespread infection during second COVID-19 wave and the vaccination drive against SARS CoV-2 infection among the adult population during last 5-6 months.
The study was coordinated by ICMR’s National Institute of Epidemiology and facilitated by National Institute of Research on Tuberculosis Chennai.
Incidentally, similar study is underway across all ten districts of Kashmir where samples are taken from children, adults and pregnant women among general population, health care providers and police personnel to ascertain sero prevalence among these different strata of population.
The GMC Srinagar handout said they are expecting results of pan Kashmir district-wise study in 3-4 weeks which shall guide the policy makers in decision making about COVID management and protocols, said Dr. S. Muhammad Salim Khan.