Haryana to Launch Sero Survey to Determine Covid-19 Exposure: Health Minister Anil Vij

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Haryana's Health Minister Anil Vij on Monday said the government will soon launch a serosurvey in the state to gauge the penetration of COVID-19 in the population and monitor its transmission trend.

The ICMR, the apex health research body in the country, had advised states in June to conduct the survey to assess the proportion of the population, including asymptomatic individuals, exposed to the coronavirus infection.

"A blueprint is ready for conducting the survey," said Vij, adding it will be conducted in the entire state in collaboration with PGIMER, Chandigarh.

A serosurvey involves testing the blood serum of a group of individuals for the presence of antibodies against the infection to know who has been infected in the past and has now recovered.

Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Arora said the findings of the study will be useful in designing and implementing appropriate containment measures in Haryana.

"A serosurvey involves testing a group of individuals to monitor the trend of COVID-19 prevalence and it helps in understanding the number of people affected by the disease. The study will help us to determine the burden of COVID-19 at the community level in the state and monitor the transmission trend of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection," he added.

As per the blueprint, the sample size has been estimated at district-level. Thus, from each district 850 participants will be covered.

Giving further details, Arora said, "A stratified multistage random sampling will be done. The sample size of 850 will be divided into two parts: rural and urban. A total of 88 samples from rural clusters and 44 samples from each urban cluster will be taken, he said in an official statement.

Divulging further details, the Health Minister said while the survey will soon be launched across the state, it has already started in Panchkula and Ambala in association with the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh and the State Health Department.

"We aim to complete the survey by August-end," he said.

Vij said a nodal officer has been designated in every district to monitor and supervise the serosurvey activity. The Health Department will be able to gauge the number of people affected by COVID-19 through this survey, he added.

Appreciating the Health Department's efforts, Vij said, "They have been on their toes for the last four to five months. The work of the Health Department at state headquarters and district levels to draw the blueprint for conducting the serosurvey in such a short period is indeed commendable."

The team conducting the survey will consist of three members, one medical officer (MO), one auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), and one laboratory technician.

Notably, as of Monday, Haryana has reported over 42,000 coronavirus cases and close to 500 fatalities. The state has a healthy recovery rate at over 83 percent currently but it has also been reporting a spike of over 700 cases for the past several days.

Majority of the cases and fatalities are from some of the districts including Faridabad and Gurugram, which fall in the National Capital Region.