New Delhi, Jul 31 (PTI) The next round of sero-prevalence survey in the national capital is slated to begin on Saturday, with authorities gearing up for the five-day exercise to comprehensively analyse the COVID-19 situation in Delhi.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had on July 22 announced that after analysing the results of the last survey, it was decided that more such exercises would be undertaken every month to formulate better policies for tackling the COVID-19 situation in the city. The next sero-prevalence survey is scheduled to be conducted from August 1-5. A senior government official said 15,000 samples would be collected over a span of five days and the survey would kickstart in four districts, including north and northwest Delhi.

It would follow the same protocol as that of the survey conducted earlier by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). All CDMOs will be tasked with carrying out the survey in their districts. Random people will be tested for antibodies. The health department has prepared a detailed plan under which every district medical officer has been asked to conduct the survey in their respective jurisdictions, officials said.

The last sero-prevalence survey was conducted by the Delhi government in association with the NCDC from June 27 to July 10. It had found that around 23 per cent of the people surveyed had been exposed to the novel coronavirus, the central government had said. “The results of the sero survey conducted from June 27-July 10 came out yesterday, and it shows that nearly one-fourth of people had developed antibodies, meaning they had got infected and recovered. Most of these people who were sampled did not know that they were infected earlier,” Jain had told reporters on July 23.

The Delhi government has now decided to conduct more monthly sero surveys to find a greater percentage of such people who had got infected and recovered so as to formulate better policies for tackling COVID-19, he had said. However, health department officials, when contacted, did not share much detail on the five-day exercise. A senior official in South Delhi district administration said no instruction as such been issued to them about the survey, but the administration will be ready for it.

After the findings of the previous survey were released, NCDC Director Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh had said the remaining 77 per cent people in Delhi are still vulnerable to the viral disease and containment measures need to continue with the same rigour. The study had tested 21,387 samples. A sero survey involves testing the blood serum of individuals to check for the prevalence of antibodies against infection.

For the survey, blood samples were collected from selected individuals after taking written informed consent and then tested for IgG antibodies and infection using COVID KAVACH ELISA approved by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). It was one of the largest sero-prevalence studies conducted in the country using the ELISA testing.

With 1,195 fresh COVID-19 cases recorded on Friday, Delhi’s tally climbed to over 1.35 lakh, while the death toll due to the disease climbed to 3,963, authorities said. There were 10,705 active cases in the city, down from 10,743 the previous day. The total number of COVID-19 tests done till July 30 in Delhi stands at 10,32,785. The number of containment zones in Delhi stood at 692 on Friday. The number of tests done per million as on Thursday was 54,357.

Source: PTI