Over 64 lakh exposed to COVID-19 by early May! ICMR serosurvey reveals most Indians still susceptible to infection

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New Delhi | Updated: Sep 11, 2020 9:24 AM

Coronavirus cases in India: "The low prevalence observed in most districts indicates that India is in the early phase of the epidemic and the majority of the Indian population is still susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection," the survey report says.

serosurvey meaning, serosurvey India, serosurvey ICMR, serosurvey results, coronavirus India, coronavirus update, coronavirus news, coronavirus cases, coronavirus Testing, coronavirus India update, Coronavirus cases in India, coronavirus cases todayCoronavirus India Update: ICMR survey results stressed on the need to continue implementing the context-specific containment measures. (Reuters image)

Coronavirus cases in India: More than 64 lakh people in India were exposed to Coronavirus by early May, Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) nation-wide serosurvey report has revealed. The study, which has been published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, shows that 0.73 per cent of adults in the country were exposed to COVID-19 by early May. India has so far recorded over 44 lakh confirmed coronavirus cases.

ICMR survey results stressed on the need to continue implementing the context-specific containment measures. These measures include the testing of all symptomatic, isolating positive cases, and tracing high-risk contacts to slow transmission, and to prevent the overburdening of the health system, PTI reported.

ICMR conducted the survey from May 11 to June 4 covering 28,000 individuals whose blood samples were tested for IgG antibodies using COVID Kavach ELISA kit. Generally, if a person is exposed to the Coronavirus, then he or she tends to develop antibodies. The seropositivity (presence of the virus) was the highest in the age group of 18-45 years (43.3 per cent), followed by those between 46-60 years (39.5 per cent) and it was the lowest among those aged above 60 (17.2 per cent). A total of 64,68,388 adult infections were estimated in India by early May, the survey report revealed. As part of the survey, a total of 30,283 households were visited from 700 clusters in 70 districts across the four strata. About one-fourth (25.9 per cent) of the surveyed clusters were from urban areas, the PTI report states.

According to the survey report, seroprevalence ranged between 0.62 and 1.03 per cent across the four strata of districts. The stratification of districts as zero cases (15 districts), low (22 districts), medium (16) and high (17) was done on the basis of the reported number of COVID-19 cases as on April 25. Based on the overall adjusted seroprevalence of 0.73 per cent and reported number of COVID-19 cases, it was estimated that for every RT-PCR confirmed case of COVID-19 there were 82-130 infections in India.

Nearly half (48.5 per cent) of the participants were aged between 18 and 45 and 51.5 per cent (14,390) were females. In all, 18.7 per cent of the participants had an occupation with a high risk of exposure to potentially infected persons.

The survey noted that there could be under-detection of COVID-19 cases in the zero stratum districts on account of low testing as well as poor access to testing laboratories. The present findings of seropositivity in the strata of districts with zero to low incidence of COVID-19 cases underscore the need to strengthen surveillance and augment the testing of suspected cases in these areas, the survey report said.

“The findings of our survey indicated that the overall seroprevalence in India was low, with less than one per cent of the adult population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 by mid-May 2020. The low prevalence observed in most districts indicates that India is in the early phase of the epidemic and the majority of the Indian population is still susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the survey report says.

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