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India seroprevalence survey: Three Kashmir doctors feature among investigators, coauthors in Lancet study

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File photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Srinagar:  Three doctors from Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar are among 70 top investigators who have conducted and co-authored SARS-CoV-2 antibody seroprevalence survey in India.

Dr Muhammad Salim Khan, Dr Inaamul Haq, and Dr Mariya Amin Qurieshi, all from the Social and Preventive Medicine (SPM) department, GMC, have been named as co-authors of the survey.


Conducted under the aegis of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), ‘SARS-CoV-2 antibody seroprevalence in India, August–September, 2020’ was published in the international medical journal ‘The Lancet’.  Seroprevalence survey conducted in the Pulwama district last year is part of the study.

 “Study in Pulwama was part of the national survey. It is a collective effort of all the doctors across the country. In the first survey, the seroprevalence in Pulwama district was 27 percent people. Later when we conducted a study across Kashmir entire, the seroprevalence shot up to 40 percent in Pulwama. This first part of the study has been included in the national survey,” Dr. Muhammad Salim Khan, head department of SPM, told The Kashmir Monitor.

The Social and Preventive Medicine Department has now expanded the study to all districts. The sample size of each district has been restricted to 400 now. The results of the entire valley are expected to be released later this month.

“The study has been published in The Lancet, which is a very prestigious medical journal. That way, we are very much satisfied,” said Dr Khan.

According to the survey, approximately one in 15 individuals aged 10 years or older in India had SARS-CoV-2 infection by Aug 18, 2020. The adult seroprevalence increased approximately tenfold between May and August, 2020. A lower infection-to-case ratio in August than in May reflects a substantial increase in testing across the country.

The first national severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) serosurvey in India, done in May–June 2020, among adults aged 18 years or older from 21 states, found a SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody seroprevalence of 0·73% (95% CI 0·34–1·13). 

“We aimed to assess the more recent nationwide seroprevalence in the general population in India,” ICMR said.

Between Aug 18 and Sept 20, 2020, serum samples were collected from 29 082 individuals from 15 613 households.  “Among 15 084 randomly selected adults (one per household), the weighted and adjusted seroprevalence was 7·1% (6·2–8·2). Seroprevalence was similar across age groups, sexes, and occupations. Seroprevalence was highest in urban slum areas followed by urban non-slum and rural areas. We estimated a cumulative 74·3 million infections in the country by Aug 18, 2020, with 26–32 infections for every reported COVID-19 case,” ICMR said.