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Delhi to roll out serological surveillance to check Covid prevalence in all districts

Over the last two days, NCDC has been imparting training to state- and district- level health officers on conducting the survey. Districts have formed teams to visit houses, and the results will be declared on July 10.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi | Published: June 27, 2020 1:35:48 am
coronavirus, coronavirus covid-19, coronavirus news, delhi coronavirus news, delhi corona, delhi coronavirus updates, arvind kejriwal, delhi hospitals, delhi corona hospitals Delhi CM inaugurates the video call facility for Covid patients at the LNJP hospital in New Delhi  (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Delhi is all set to roll out serological surveillance, a comprehensive exercise to check the prevalence of Covid-19 among the population, in all 11 districts from Saturday. It will be jointly carried out by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and state health authorities on 20,000 households on a random basis, including on individuals below 18 years.

“The study will help us to know the disease spread among the people. It will be representative of the population through randomised selection. District teams will be taking blood samples, which will be tested in government labs, NCDC and ILBS. The activity may take five days or so,” said a senior official from the health department.

Over the last two days, NCDC has been imparting training to state- and district- level health officers on conducting the survey. Districts have formed teams to visit houses, and the results will be declared on July 10.

About 160 teams of four members each – a phlebotomist, pharmacist, anganwadi/ASHA worker, Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) – will randomly select the houses. “Anyone living in Delhi for more than six months will be eligible to participate. The questionnaire has been provided by NCDC. We have formed 16 teams from our district. We will start the survey from Saturday,” said a senior official from the Central district.

The decision to perform a serological survey in Delhi was taken by a high-level expert committee led by NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul, along with AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria and some experts from NCDC and Delhi government. The Ministry of Home Affairs had announced that the survey will begin from June 27.

The high number of cases can be attributed to Delhi’s aggressive testing technique. The city performed 21,144 tests Friday, taking the total number of tests done so far to 4,59,156. Delhi is currently testing 24,166 per million population.

Currently, the city is using two testing strategies – RT PCR and rapid antigen testing. Serological surveillance will be conducted using a third strategy of testing antibodies. Antibody tests for ICMR serosurvey are carried out using the Covid Kavach Elisa testing kit. During the survey, blood samples will be collected to determine if a person is or was infected with Covid.

“The results will help in preparing a broader strategy for Delhi. Teams have been formed but we are awaiting detailed guidelines from the state health department. A meeting is also scheduled on Saturday morning. The survey will begin after that,” said a senior official from the North district.

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