Serological survey begins in Indian capital amid spike in COVID-19 cases
Health authorities in New Delhi will undertake a mammoth exercise on Saturday to determine the spread of COVID-19 amid a spike in cases, officials said.
The serological survey as part of the new COVID-19 response plan will enable authorities to prepare a broad strategy to combat the pandemic in the capital city and outskirts.
The exercise will be jointly taken up by the Delhi government and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) from Saturday to July 10.
"As per the directives of home minister Amit Shah, discussion was done on the serological survey in Delhi, which will be carried out jointly by the NCDC and the Delhi Government," a statement issued by the federal home ministry said.
According to officials, 20,000 tests will be conducted across all the districts of the national capital spanning all sections and ages. Two age categorizations have been set to conduct the survey, one for those below 18 years and another for above 18 years.
Depending on the level of seroprevalence of infection, appropriate public health interventions can be planned and implemented for prevention and control of the disease.
"This exercise will enable authorities to undertake a comprehensive analysis of COVID-19 in the city and subsequently prepare a broad strategy to combat the pandemic in the national capital," a ministry statement said.
Serology (antibody) tests are largely used for surveillance among the community. The tests can be used on people who have already been tested positive for the virus or even those who are asymptomatic. The exercise can provide insights on immunity against COVID-19.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research, periodic sero-surveys are useful to guide the policymakers to conduct surveys in high-risk areas or vulnerable population who have been infected.
The survey will involve the collection of blood samples from randomly selected individuals. Blood samples will be collected for detecting IgG antibodies and will be conducted using an IgG ELISA kit.
Delhi has the second-highest number of infections in India with 77,240 COVID-19 cases and 2,492 fatalities.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said they had conducted 21,144 tests, the highest number of tests so far in a single day.