Delhi’s COVID-19 sero-prevalence study: significant proportion of population still vulnerable

Nearly six months into the epidemic, only 23.48% of the people are affected, as per the study conducted by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in collaboration with the Delhi government

Updated - November 28, 2021 12:43 pm IST

Published - July 21, 2020 02:42 pm IST - New Delhi:

A doctor attending to a patient at a mohalla clinic in Raja Garden in West Delhi on March 26, 2020.

A doctor attending to a patient at a mohalla clinic in Raja Garden in West Delhi on March 26, 2020.

The results of Delhi’s sero-prevalence study , released on Tuesday, show that on an average the prevalence of IgG antibodies across the Capital is 23.48%. The study indicates that a large number of infected persons remain asymptomatic.

Releasing the results of the survey, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said in a statement that the sero-survey is done to determine the exposure of the novel coronavirus among the population.

The study further indicates that while a significant proportion of the population is still vulnerable in the Capital, only 23.48% of the people are affected nearly six months into the epidemic. These cases are mostly in Delhi’s densely populated pockets.

“The Capital will need to continue with its containment measures with the same rigour and non-pharmacological interventions such as physical distancing, use of face mask/cover, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and avoidance of crowded places etc.,” says the study.

Antibody testing repeatedly done over time i.e. sero-surveillance, generates important evidence for assessing the spread of the pandemic from time to time, said a senior Health Ministry official.

“This is one of the largest sero-prevalence studies conducted in the country using the ELISA testing. 21,387 samples were collected as per lab standards and were tested. The tests done help in identification of presence of antibodies in the general population. The test performed is not a diagnostic test but only provides information about past infection due to SARSCoV-2 in individuals who test positive,” explained a release issued by the Health Ministry.

The Health Ministry commissioned sero-surveillance study in Delhi and this was done by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in collaboration with the Delhi government following a rigorous multi-stage sampling study design. The study was conducted from June 27 to July 10.


`”For all the 11 districts of Delhi, survey teams were formed. Blood samples were collected from selected individuals after taking written informed consent and then their sera were tested for IgG antibodies and infection using COVID KAVACH ELISA approved by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR),” said the Health MInistry.

The Ministry has attributed to the lowering of COVID numbers in Delhi to the proactive efforts taken by the government to prevent the spread of infection, including prompt lockdown, effective containment and surveillance measures, such as contact tracing and tracking, as well as citizen’s compliance to COVID appropriate behaviours.

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