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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Pune: AFMC to conduct sero survey among defence personnel

"The duration of the study will be three months and around 500 personnel will be included in the study, including serving personnel returning from leave/temp duty/courses or on permanent posting to AFMC," said researchers.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Updated: September 8, 2020 12:07:57 pm
Coronavirus cases, Covid test, Sero survey, Pune news, Indian express newsAlong with NCL, staff members of CSIR – Unit for Research and Development of Information Products (URDIP) were also part of the survey. (Representational)

After the city’s first serosurvey – conducted in certain areas – found that antibodies against Covid-19 were present in 51.5 per cent residents in the population covered, another serosurveillance of the armed forces population is underway in Pune.

Researchers from Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) are in the process of collecting blood samples and studying whether they have tested positive for antibodies against Covid-19.

Explained: Pune serosurvey indicates 50% have antibodies, what this means

Departments of Microbiology, internal medicine and community medicine are conducting serosurveillance studies to detect circulating IgG antibodies in the armed forces population in the city. It is an ongoing study and more than 400 subjects have been recruited to date. The results will be available after the study has been completed, said official sources from AFMC.

“The serosurveillance we have started is only of personnel posted at AFMC. The duration of the study will be three months and around 500 personnel will be included in the study, including serving personnel returning from leave/temp duty/courses or on permanent posting to AFMC,” said researchers, adding that the age profile of participants ranged from 20 to 55.

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According to the authorities, the department of microbiology, AFMC, has conducted more than 19,200 tests after the start of the pandemic. Armed forces personnel and their dependents, State Reserve Police Force, and samples of civilians from Pune, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Satara districts were tested. They have received 6,160 samples for testing from Pune, of which 995 tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The AFMC has also undertaken genomic studies to understand the evolution and epidemiology of the SARS-CoV-2 in collaboration with the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS). Whole-genome sequencing of 90 Covid-19 samples from western India were performed. In this study, the sequences of SARS-CoV-2 from Pune, Satara and Nashik formed four clusters, of which the cluster 1 was found closest to the Wuhan strain.

Phylogenetic analysis revealed six sequences with close proximity to the original Wuhan sequence and others belonging to three distinct clusters, indicating that the SARS-CoV-2 underwent several mutations, resulting in radiating phylogenetic clusters.

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