Srinagar, Sep 09: As per the population based Seroprevalence of Covid-19 in Kashmir valley, over 84 percent people have antibodies against the Covid-19 infection.
An official said that a pan-Kashmir cross-sectional sero-study was conducted among general population and various subsets of population which include police personnel, healthcare workers, pregnant women by government medical college Srinagar in collaboration with Community Medicine departments of SKIMS, SKIMS Medical College Srinagar, Government Medical College Anantnag and Government Medical College Baramulla with full support and cooperation from directorate of health sciences Kashmir and supported by National Health Mission.
He said that the Department of Community Medicine GMC Srinagar was the nodal center while all testing procedures were conducted by department of Biochemistry, GMC Srinagar. The study was approved by institutional ethics committee of GMC Srinagar.
“In the general population of seven years and above, the study was conducted in all 10 districts of Kashmir. The data was collected in the month of July 2021 with each medical college mentoring two districts. Within each district, 10 clusters were randomly selected and within each cluster 40 samples were collected from individuals more than 7 years of age after obtaining proper informed consent for the study,” an official said.
“The household and individual data was collected on customised Epicollect5 software,” he added.
Official said that all the blood samples were sent to BSL-2 lab at Biochemistry Department of GMC Srinagar for analysis on high end Abbott Architect i1000 & i2000 automatic analysers.
Total samples processed and reported include 3586 samples from general population with mean age of 35.33 ±18 years.
“Further, 2077 samples have been processed and reported from among the police personals, HCW and antenatal women,” he said.
“Our study among general population in 10 districts of Kashmir shows 84.3 percent anti-bodies of our study population which was positive for IgG-II (or the anti spike protein) antibody, produced after infection with SARS CoV -2 as well as after vaccination, he said.
“The IgM antibody which is usually produced by recent infection with SARS Cov-2 (can rarely also be produced in recent vaccination) .This antibody was positive in about 20.75 percent of participants,” he said.
District wise anti spike antibodies status show that in Anantnag 87.23 percent population has antibodies against the Covid-19, Bandipora has 84.42 percent, Baramulla -84.91percent, Budgam – 83.68 percent, Ganderbal – 82.8 percent, Kulgam – 82.95 percent, Kupwara- 81.05 percent, Pulwama – 78.24 percent, Shopian – 86.89 percent, and Srinagar 89.77 percent.
Srinagar and Anantnag have the highest seroprevalance in terms of IgG II (antispike protein IgG antibody), official added.
During the time of study in July 2021 a total of 20.3 percent participants had received 2 doses of vaccination and majority (79.25) had received none. “However, since then the vaccination has scaled up and the sero positivity due to vaccination would have gone up also,” an official said.
“We encourage people to follow COVID appropriate behaviour by using face masks, maintain social distancing, hand hygiene and more importantly go for full vaccination,” said Dr. S. Muhammad Salim Khan, Professor and HOD Community Medicine Government College Srinagar and principal investigator of the study.
“While analysing the data from various subsets, we would definitely request every eligible person to go for vaccination against COVID as over these months we have seen a significant drop in number of death cases who have been admitted in hospitals with moderate to severe diseases,” he said.
“Further, scaling up vaccination would reduce chances of any possible severe third wave, Khan asserted.
“We need not to be complacent with the results as new variants could emerge and apprehend immune escape. So we need to follow CAB SOPs and all those who haven’t gone for vaccination yet shall do it urgently,” he said. kno