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Sunday, February 28, 2021

56% in Delhi have Covid antibodies: Serosurvey of 28,000 people

The Delhi government had collected 100 samples each from every municipal ward, including NDMC and cantonment areas. Out of the 11 districts, seroprevalence was least in North (49.09%) and highest in Southeast (62.18%).

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi |
Updated: February 3, 2021 8:52:27 am
56% in Delhi have Covid antibodies: Serosurvey of 28,000 peopleThe Delhi government had collected 100 samples each from every municipal ward, including NDMC and cantonment areas. (Archive)

The fifth round of the serological survey conducted in Delhi between January 15 and 23 among 28,000 people has found that 56.13% of those surveyed had developed antibodies against Covid-19. Announcing the results, Health Minister Satyendar Jain Tuesday said this is the largest such survey carried out by any state in India.

The Delhi government had collected 100 samples each from every municipal ward, including NDMC and cantonment areas. Out of the 11 districts, seroprevalence was least in North (49.09%) and highest in Southeast (62.18%).

Jain said Delhi was “moving towards herd immunity, but only experts will be able to give a clear picture”.

“We should not get into the discussion of herd immunity. There are different estimates for the parameters. Looking at the situation, we should continue following socially appropriate behaviour. The overall prevalence has been found at 56.13%. These people have already been infected with the disease and have recovered from the infection. Looking at data from all 11 districts, we can say that antibodies have been found in 49%-62% of those who were surveyed and the average has been noted at 56.13%. The overall prevalence has been found more in women,” he said.

The first serological survey was jointly carried out by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the National Centre for Disease Control in the last week of June, 2020. The next four studies were conducted by the Delhi government in August, September, October and January.

Dr Nutan Mundeja, Director General of Health Services, said, “This is a new disease and we should not change our strategy depending on herd immunity. Let us wait and see; we do not want to give any wrong indication.”

The serosurvey conducted by NCDC in July last year suggested the presence of antibodies in 23% of those surveyed.

In August, the survey conducted by the Delhi government showed 29.1% had antibodies. The figure dropped to 25.1% in September, and stood at 25.5% in October. The next survey is expected to start after a break of one or two months.

“We have conducted this serosurvey along with Maulana Azad Medical College. We used CLIA technology, which is more sensitive than ELISA, and samples have been tested at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences so that there is uniformity across the city. We have taken 100 samples from every type of population in each ward, and we have successfully been able to do it with the help of our health team and the ILBS team. This does not mean we suddenly bring a change in our behavior with regard to Covid. We must maintain social distancing, wash hands regularly and wear a mask at all times,” said Dr Mundeja.

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