Covid: Top docs call for fresh sero survey


NEW DELHI/CHENNAI/MUMBAI: A day after an ICMR report created a stir in medical circles when it revealed that the country potentially had 6.4 million Covid infections in May, health professionals say there is a need for another national-level sero-survey to study the spread of the infection and that the result of the survey was declared too late for affirmative action.
The result of the country’s first sero-survey, published on Thursday in the ICMR’s Indian Journal of Medical Research, also revealed that for every confirmed case there were 82-130 infections that went undetected and that the infection had spread to rural India by June. The month-long investigation took place in the midst of the lockdown.
Dr Ulhas Kolthur of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, who is associated with the two sero-surveys conducted in Mumbai, said national-level sero-surveys should be repeated to understand the spread across regions. “Trends are likely to be different in different districts,” he said.
Epidemiologist Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, who was a part of the sero-survey, said the results have been released too late. The survey talks about the situation in May, when the country was detecting only 1% of the cases. “At that time, they isolated and treated patients, but containment was still for 1% of the problem. The infection spread in the following months. There was a wider disconnect between what the government was doing and what it was claiming to do,” he said.
Now, increasingly, reports from other sero-studies show that the impact of the epidemic is higher in cities. “We are experiencing a true epidemic in urban areas and a silent one in rural areas. In the beginning, I had said herd immunity can be achieved if 60% of the population is affected. Now, after seeing Dharavi and other places, I think we overestimated. We will achieve herd immunity when a little more than 50% of the population is infected,” he said. This means that the virus will go away with or without containment, he said. “Containment can be comforting; the virus has not noticed it at all. And the only impact of the lockdown has been on the people, not on the pandemic.”

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here