Less than 1% have Covid-19 infection, says ICMR’s 15-district sero survey
India’s apex medical research body on Thursday revealed the findings from the sero-surveys conducted to gauge the extent of the spread of coronavirus infection in the general population and also in Covid-19 containment zones. According to the results shared by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), less than one per cent of the population – 0.73%--in non-containment zone districts was found to have contracted the deadly contagion.
A sero-survey is conducted by testing the blood serum of a group of people in a community to detect the presence of antibodies in the system which aids in finding out the prevalence of a disease. ICMR said it conducted sero-survey in districts to monitor the spread of Sars-Cov-2 virus. This testing allows the health authorities to study the trend of the infection and ascertain if it has reached the community transmission phase.
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ICMR said the sero-surveys were conducted in two parts, and the first part comprising a fraction of the general population, who had contracted Sars-Cov-2, had been completed.
The sero-survey was conducted using both anti-body/instant test and the lengthier RT-PCR test, to detect current virus carriers and also those who recovered after contracting the disease.
According to its findings, the risk of people contracting the virus in urban slums was 1.89 times higher than the rural areas, while the risk in other urban areas was 1.09 times higher compared to rural areas.
ICMR said that the study also revealed that the infection fatality rate was very low at 0.08 per cent.
According to the council, the findings demonstrated that the nationwide lockdown and adjutant restrictions had been successful in keeping the rate of coronavirus spread low.
However, in a corollary to the above findings, the ICMR said that a large proportion of India’s population was still susceptible to the disease.
Part 2 of the sero-survey was to estimate the fraction of population infected with the virus in containment zones of hotspot cites and it is still ongoing, said ICMR.
These sero-surveys were started by ICMR in May 2020, in collaboration with state health departments, NCDC, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).