Covid-19: Kashmir’s 39% population has antibodies, shows sero survey

A Sero-survey conducted in Kashmir recently has found that four out of every ten people in the valley have developed antibodies against the Covid-19.

The survey carried out in all ten districts of Kashmir found the highest prevalence of antibodies is in Pulwama district as 43.1 per cent patients have developed antibodies and the lowest prevalence was found in Kulgam district where just 28.5 per cent people have developed antibodies.

Dr Muhammad Salim Khan head of department Community Medicine, Government Medical College Srinagar said that the first ever sero-prevalence study in Kashmir division for SARS COV-2 specific IgG antibodies conducted across all ten districts shows IgG antibodies among 38.8% sampled population.

He said that the study organised by Government Medical College Srinagar and JK National Health Mission in collaboration with SKIMS, SKIMS Medical College, Government Medical College Anantnag, Government Medical College Baramulla and Directorate of Health Services Kashmir covered all ten districts of Kashmir division, as per KNO.

 A total of 6230 blood samples comprising population sample of 400 persons across 10 clusters in each of nine districts and 2418 samples in Srinagar district were tested for presence of IgG antibodies specific to SARS COV-2 infection in high tech Abbott Laboratories’ Architect analyser by Department of Biochemistry GMC Srinagar, he said, adding that the preliminary data presented by Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College Srinagar, the coordinating centre for the study, shows that sero prevalence was more in central and north Kashmir than south districts with Pulwama 43.1%, Budgam 43.0%, Kupwara 42.3%, Srinagar 40.7%, Bandipora 39.8%, Ganderbal 39.0%, Anantnag 35.2%, Baramullah 34.6%, Shopian 31.9% and Kulgam 28.5%.

The age-wise analysis shows more sero prevalence among elderly population while gender wise it’s more among females (40.2%) as against males (37.3%),he said, adding that over half of the sampled population (52.1%) who had Influenza like illness (ILI) showed IgG antibodies and surprisingly among those who didn’t show any symptoms, 37.9% showed IgG antibodies.

Half of the sampled population who had history of contact with a COVID case showed IgG antibodies while among those who had no history of contact, 40% showed IgG antibodies, he said, adding that among those who had tested positive for COVID test, only 79.5% showed antibodies.

Even among 912 persons who have tested negative on COVID tests, 345 (37.8%) expressed COVID specific IgG antibodies, he said, adding that  the study indicates that there has been widespread transmission of SARS CoV-2 infection in general population and there are apprehensions that the majority of unaffected population may also contract the COVID infection if SOPs aren’t followed and there seems complacency among general population and very few people are now using face masks.

The gatherings in public places also shows people are not adhering to social distancing norms, he said