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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Explained: How a sero survey could help Haryana combat Covid-19

The Indian Express explains why the state had to go in for a ‘sero survey’ and what the state wants to achieve with this.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
Updated: June 20, 2020 3:42:01 pm
sero survey, what is sero survey, sero survey haryana, haryana covid cases A medic collects samples for Covid-19 swab tests at a testing centre in a government school. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

Ever since lockdown 4.0 ended and unlock 1.0 came into force, Haryana started witnessing a sharp spike in coronavirus cases. The cases began to multiply rapidly, resulting in the state’s case-doubling rate falling from 21 days to 6 days and patient recovery rate from 72 per cent to barely 34 per cent. Although the situation has once again started to improve, the pace at which the infection is spreading across the state has forced the Haryana government to check if there is any community transmission.

The Indian Express explains why the state had to go in for a ‘sero survey’ and what the state wants to achieve with this:

What is a sero survey?

The survey involves testing of blood serum to detect whether a person is Covid infected and has had any such infections in the past. According to health department officials, the sero survey will be conducted in all districts of the state for a test called ‘Covid Kavach Elisa’. The test will also identify antibodies being produced in the body to combat Covid-19.

Why is Haryana conducting the survey?

The state has witnessed an unprecedented rise in coronavirus cases in the last fortnight. While Covid deaths have increased by five times, the number of infected patients increased more than three times in the last two weeks. On June 4, there were 28 Covid deaths while the total number of Covid patients was 3,281. However, in the last fortnight, 106 patients died, taking the death toll to 134, while the number of patients crossed 9,400. While almost all the districts of Haryana are witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases, the worst affected districts continue to be those that are sharing borders with Delhi. These include Gurgaon, Faridabad and Sonipat – the three districts having maximum cases and majority of deaths in the state. Although the state government has not yet declared a state of community transmission, the manner in which the cases are rising, the possibility cannot be ruled out, at least in the coming days. To check the community prevalence of the coronavirus infection, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij has ordered this sero survey in all districts of the state. Its basic purpose will be to find out the proportion of population in the state that has got exposed to the coronavirus infection.

Where has this sero survey been conducted earlier?

Earlier, the ICMR had conducted a sero survey in 83 districts of the country. The findings revealed that 0.73 per cent of the population in these districts had evidence of past exposure to coronavirus. The ICMR then declared that the survey’s findings indicated that containment zones and lockdown regulations had proved successful in keeping the number of cases low and preventing rapid spread of infection.

Who all will be tested? Who will bear the cost?

To begin with, the tests will be conducted in NCR, hotspot areas and high-risk zones across the state. Frontline workers including doctors, nursing staff, paramedical staff, police etc of Gurgaon, Faridabad and other districts in NCR will be tested on priority. Dr Saket Kumar, MD, Haryana Medical Services Corporation, said, “We are planning to examine blood samples of random people. The entire cost of testing will be borne by the government. This test kit has been developed by the ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune, and is completely indigenous. Haryana is among a few selected states in the country conducting this type of investigation. The sero survey has been conducted in 83 hotspot districts across the country. During this period, more than 26,400 people have been investigated, which has yielded positive results”.

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