BENGALURU: 3On the lines of the ICMR sero-survey done across the country, the Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department too is planning a similar sero-survey across the state, starting with Bengaluru and Udupi. The proposal put forth by the Covid-19 technical advisory committee has been accepted by the state government.
“The survey will cover specific sample sizes and include high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk groups. It will gauge the prevalence or spread of coronavirus in the state. After the pilot in Bengaluru and Udupi, we will expand it to the whole state. We wanted to start it from July beginning, but now we expect to start it around July 15. We will have to procure both rapid antibody test and RT-PCR kits for it,” said Dr Prakash B G, joint director, communicable diseases, Health and Family Welfare department.
Dr Pradeep, an epidemiologist from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, who is part of the COVID-19 expert committee advising the state government, explained the benefits of doing the sero-survey. “It will help us gauge if community transmission is happening. It will also help us look at the preparedness to deal with the pandemic. Another advantage is that it will help us evaluate our earlier estimates of how many cases we can expect in the coming months. It can help us detect hidden transmission as well,” he said.
“We are looking at three different groups. Low-risk refers to someone who is at home always, such as pregnant women, elderly, etc. High-risk is frontline workers in healthcare, police force, etc. Moderate risk is those in public places, like vendors, hawkers and salesmen in markets,” he added.
The ICMR sero-survey was done by the central government in Bengaluru, Chitradurga and Kalaburagi in May-end. It revealed that in Bengaluru and Kalaburgi, 0.25% of the surveyed population showed evidence of past exposure to SARS-CoV-2 . For 83 districts surveyed across the country, the exposure rate was 0.73%.