ICMR-NIV, PMC likely to conduct serosurvey in city

ICMR-NIV, PMC likely to conduct serosurvey in city

As many as 10,000 people will be included in the study; it will help to plan further control measures against the coronavirus.

The Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) National Institute of Virology (NIV) and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) are planning to undertake a joint seroprevalence study in Pune city. A serosurvey uses antibody tests to estimate the percentage of people in a population who have antibodies against, in this case, SARS-CoV-2. The survey also helps assess the susceptibility profile of the target population, and will help plan control measures against COVID-19.

According to the written communication between NIV and PMC, serosurvey of approximately 10,000 people will be conducted. Ethical permission for the study was taken from NIV human ethics committee.

In the previous survey carried out in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad among 9,687 citizens, there was a seroprevalence rate of 34.04 per cent, an acceptable difference of 0.4 per cent and a design effect of 2.5 per cent with 99 per cent CI.

The study will be a population-based repeated cross-sectional study; citizens above the age of six will be included. Study participants in the 6-18 age group will be included only after the consent of the parents or guardians. Pregnant women and terminally ill persons will be excluded.

The study is likely to continue for one month with 10 days for data collection. For the sampling technique, 50 samples from 200 clusters will be included. The clusters will be based on threestrata housing structures — slums, tenements and housing societies with 35, 45 and 120 clusters, respectively.

The testing of samples will be done using SARS-CoV-2 IgG Assay, read the letter.

PMC staff will be working as the field team and will receive training from ICMR-NIV. The team will collect data, specimens, vehicle support and transportation.

Around 30 field teams — each team with one medical officer, auxiliary nurse midwives, lab technicians and other staff — will be from the health department of PMC. The team will be trained on data collection such as personal details, comorbid conditions, past exposure to COVID-19, risk factors, use of PPE, etc.

Blood samples will be collected by trained technicians and the samples will be transported to ICMR-NIV in a cold chain within four hours.

Further, the NIV has also asked the PMC to provide wardwise population and financial assistance of around Rs 45 lakh for the study.

PMC health chief Dr Ashish Bharti informed that the decision to conduct the serosurvey in Pune city is under discussion. “We have received the letter from NIV. It has all the details of the study and the support that has to be provided by PMC. The final decision regarding the same will be taken by senior administrative officials of the PMC. At present, no final decision has been taken yet about the study.”

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