Serological survey to begin in Delhi, Mumbai to determine COVID-19 spread

The home ministry had earlier said the serological survey will be done for entire Delhi between June 27 and July 10 in which 20,000 people will be sample tested

A serological survey to undertake a comprehensive analysis of COVID-19 in Delhi and prepare a broad strategy to combat the pandemic will be carried out in the national capital from Saturday (June 27), according to the Union Home Ministry.

The announcement came a day after Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla reviewed implementation of various decisions on the coronavirus-related situation in Delhi, which were taken on June 21 in a meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

“As per the directives of HM @AmitShah, discussion was done on the serological survey in Delhi, which will be carried out jointly by NCDC and Delhi Government.

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“Survey will begin from June 27, training of all the concerned survey teams was completed yesterday,” a home ministry spokesperson tweeted.

The home minister has already approved the combined use of Aarogya Setu and Itihaas apps as strong predictive tools for future detection of COVID-19 outbreaks in population clusters.

Training on combined use of apps was imparted by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) trainers to the district teams of the Delhi government on Thursday (June 25).

The meeting, chaired by Bhalla, was attended by a member from the NITI Aayog, Director of AIIMS, Director-General of ICMR, along with Delhi’s Chief Secretary and Health Secretary.

The home ministry had earlier said the sereological survey will be done for entire Delhi between June 27 and July 10 in which 20,000 people will be sample tested. The samples will be taken from people of all age groups.

This will enable authorities to undertake a comprehensive analysis of COVID-19 in the city and then a broad strategy can be prepared to combat the pandemic in the national capital, a ministry statement had said.

Serology (antibody) tests are largely used for surveillance among the community. They can be used on people who have already been tested positive for the virus or even those who are asymptomatic, and can reveal insights on immunity against the coronavirus.

Related news: Explained: What is antibody test for COVID-19 and why is it important?

Mumbai too to conduct sero-survey to check extent of virus spread

To know the extent of spread of the virus in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) too would be conducting a sero-survey during which 10,000 random blood samples will be tested.

The survey will be conducted in wards M West, F North, and R North in association with the NITI Aayog, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai and some other institutions, the BMC said.

“This study will provide information about exposure to infection and progression of the disease in the population, which will be critical to make informed public health policy decisions,” it said in a release.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has urged all the states to take up sero-surveys, it said, adding that under ICMR’s guidance, one sero-surveillance of 500 samples has already been conducted in Mumbai.

The new survey will be conducted in the age group above 12 years, and a total of 10,000 blood samples will be collected randomly from both slum and non-slum areas.

Participation in the survey will be voluntary.

The blood samples will be sent to Kasturba Molecular Diagnostics lab and THSTI (Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad) for detecting IgG antibodies.

“The detection of antibodies is a sign of exposure to COVID-19 infection,” BMC said.

It further said that there will be a special survey for healthcare and other frontline workers in these three wards.

(With inputs from agencies)

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