UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore on Wednesday gave PGIMER the go-ahead to carry out sero testing and rapid antigen testing in Chandigarh.
Sero prevalence study has been conducted in areas like Delhi and Maharashtra. It tells us if a particular percentage of population has already been infected with the virus and has developed antibodies.
UT Adviser Manoj Parida told The Indian Express that PGIMER has been tasked to carry out sero survey while they are also procuring 2,000 rapid antigen kits.
“We will do antigen testing and we have ordered 2,000 kits. It will start next week. For sero prevalence study, PGI has been tasked with it,” he said.
Badnore told the PGI director in the meeting on Wednesday to start sero testing not just in certain hotspots as per their own assessment but also in healthcare workers. Doctors suggested that the sero testing should be done in random areas of the city from where cases are being reported or those who are high-risk people.
PGI director Jagat Ram said that they are chalking out details for the sero testing.
About rapid antigen tests, he said, “These tests will be done on patients coming to hospitals, in certain high-risk areas of the city and in hospital wards where a patient has come out positive. The results come in 30 minutes and it is quick to detect. Early detection helps in early prevention.”
However, doctors are still sceptical about the accuracy of the reports of rapid antigen tests.
WHAT SERO SURVEY IN DELHI AND MUMBAI HAD REVEALED
In Delhi, the sero survey revealed that 22.86 per cent of the population was affected and had developed antibodies.
For this survey, 21,387 samples were randomly collected across 11 distrists. The Health Ministry in a statement had then said that it meant that a large number of infected persons remained asymptomatic.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai sero survey was conducted on 7,000 people in three civic wards where it was found that 57 per cent slum dwellers had antibodies to Covid.
WHAT IS SEROLOGY TEST — AS QUOTED BY CDC
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), xerology tests look for antibodies in blood. They tell us if one was infected with the virus or not. “If antibodies are found, that means there has been a previous infection.
Antibodies are proteins that can fight off infections. Investigations using serology testing are called seroprevalence surveys,” say details about the test by CDC.
It also specifies that “when antibodies are found (a positive test result), it may mean that a person was infected with SARS-CoV-2 and their body’s immune system responded to the virus at some point in the past”.
“People develop antibodies when their body’s immune system responds to an infection. These antibodies can be found in the blood of people previously infected whether or not they had signs or symptoms of illness,” it states.
But at the same time CDC specifies that when a serology test does not find antibodies, that is when the result is negative, “there are several possible meanings, so interpreting how someone acts on these results is critical”.
“Sometimes a negative serology result means that the person was not infected. However, it can also mean that infection occurred, but how the body’s immune system responded was not strong enough to make enough antibodies, or that there has not been enough time for antibodies to develop,” CDC says.
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