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Kashmir’s Pulwama part of national survey to ascertain extent of Covid-19 community infection

So far, Jammu and Kashmir has recorded 2,036 cases with 52 Covid-19 patients in Pulwama. No death has been recorded in the district of the 27 fatalities in the Union territory.

Updated: May 29, 2020 07:52 IST

By Ashiq Hussain, Hindustan Times Srinagar

A shopkeeper from Mendhar area of Poonch district following the preventive measures against Covid-19 and barring entry of customers without face masks. (ANI File Photo )

The Government Medical College (GMC) in Srinagar is conducting a survey on behalf of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district to ascertain the extent of Covid-19 infection in the community as part of a national survey.

ICMR, the nation’s premium medical research organisation, is conducting the National sero-surveillance to monitor the trend of Sars-Cov-2, the virus which causes the coronavirus disease, infection transmission in India.

The community-based surveillance is being conducted across 60 districts and 10 hotspots among all the states and Union territories of the country wherein it is collecting app-based data and blood samples to assess immunoglobulin-Gamma (Ig-G) against Sars-Cov-2, which will determine infection in the recent past and the body’s immune response to the infection.

“In our Union territory, they have chosen Pulwama. Although ICMR is conducting the study through its regional centres, however here they asked Government Medical College, Srinagar to conduct the study in Pulwama district on its behalf,” said Dr Muhammad Salim Khan, head of community Medicine at GMC Srinagar and nodal person for the survey in Pulwama.



Pulwama was chosen as it was a low-risk district depending on the number of cases per million population.

So far, Jammu and Kashmir has recorded 2,036 cases with 52 Covid-19 patients in Pulwama. No death has been recorded in the district of the 27 fatalities in the Union territory.

A team of faculty, resident doctors and medical interns from the department of community medicine at GMC were deputed to conduct the survey. The survey is done by collecting blood samples of volunteers after acquiring their consent on a form.

“We collected 400 samples from 10 clusters in the district,” Dr Khan said.

“The samples will determine how much infection is in the community and whether there are antibodies in the blood of the people which will determine the level of infectivity,” he said.

Each selected site collects data and blood samples of 400 participants of adult population which cumulates to 24,000 samples, which shall be tested to give the inference of cumulative response to the Sars-Cov-2 infection among the general population in the country, the official said.

After the survey is completed on Friday, the blood samples will be sent to the ICMR lab in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai.

“The trend of seropositivity will also be looked at to monitor the community-level transmission. Pooled seroprevalence from the group of districts for each of the four strata will be used to estimate the prevalence of Covid-19 infection in the country,” the official quoted the protocols.

The baseline survey would determine the sero-prevalence of Sars-Cov-2 infection in the community and in high-burden cities as well, while the subsequent rounds would help to monitor the trends of infection in the community.

The findings of the survey will also guide the strategy for making decisions related to lockdown options at the district level, it said.

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