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24,000 Samples Tested for Antibodies Against Covid-19 in May, Less Than 1% Seroprevalence Found: Govt

A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes swab from a construction worker for a rapid antigen test at a construction site, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ahmedabad.

A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes swab from a construction worker for a rapid antigen test at a construction site, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ahmedabad.

Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey said in the Lok Sabha smaller serosurveys conducted found seven to 28 per cent seroprevalence.

A total of 24,000 samples from 71 districts across the country were tested for IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in May and the nationwide seroprevalence was found to be less than one per cent, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey told Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Smaller serosurveys conducted in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Indore, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune found seven to 28 per cent seroprevalence, he said in a written reply to a question.

The minister further said the second round of national sero-surveillance has commenced. A total of 24,000 samples from 71 districts were collected and tested for IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in May 2020 and the nationwide seroprevalence was found to be less than one per cent, Choubey said.

On whether there is a difference between the actual cases of COVID-19 reported and infections found in the population at large, the minister said infection is the entry and development or multiplication of an infectious agent (SARS-CoV-2 virus) in humans. It is not synonymous with infectious disease (COVID-19). "The result of infection may be inapparent or manifest. Hence there will be a difference between infections among the populations and the actual cases reported," he said.

The government of India followed a graded scientific approach to formulate a testing strategy. It followed the World Health Organisation's testing benchmark of 140 samples per million population per day, the minister said. India is testing 875 samples per million population per day which is more than six times the WHO recommendation, he said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research, in its latest strategy issued on September 4, has allowed "on-demand" testing.

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