According to the latest serological survey findings by the ICMR-run Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) in Odisha, almost one-third of the 4.5 lakh population, which falls under the jurisdiction of Berhampur Municipal Corporation in Ganjam district, have developed antibodies against COVID-19. The survey, which aimed at estimating the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the community to assess the spread of the pandemic, showed that 31 per cent of those surveyed were found to have developed antibodies.
From the Municipal Corporation limits, a total of 2,830 samples were collected for the survey conducted between August 3 and 7, jointly by the RMRC, the Health Department and MKCG Medical College in Berhampur. “In absolute numbers around 1.5 lakh people have been exposed to the virus and have developed antibodies. The antibody testing was conducted in 25 randomly selected communities, which included 5 slums, and people falling in the high-risk category. The prevalence ranged from 7 per cent in some wards and 60 per cent in others. In urban slum areas the prevalence was found to be 35 per cent,” Dr Sanghmitra Pati, Director, RMRC said.
“Through the survey, we found that in the communities, 31 per cent have developed antibodies and of these, 90 per cent had no major symptoms. While in the high-risk category, which include people above 60 years of age or having any comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac or any other diseases, 23.4 per cent were found to have developed antibodies against COVID-19,” Dr. Pati added.
Pati further added that the results hold true for the infection scenario of a month ago as it takes two weeks for the human body to develop antibodies to the virus. A second sero-survey is expected to be undertaken after 21 days, which will indicate a further progression of seroprevalence in the city. “In the second sero-survey, there is a possibility that more people would have developed antibodies but it is too soon to say about the development of herd immunity within the community,” Dr Pati added.
The infection fatality rate, however, was found to be 0.02 per cent, which is an indicator of transmission in the city. The city has recorded 2,520 cases so far with 306 active cases and 41 deaths. Earlier, sero-surveys have been conducted in Puri and Bhubaneswar. In Bhubaneswar, only 1.4 persons were found to have developed antibodies. The next phase of surveys will be conducted in Gajapati, Cuttack and Rourkela.