- Sero-Survey in Mumbai studied blood samples of nearly 7,000 people
- The survey was conducted in three wards of Mumbai
- The prevalence of COVID-19 is more in Mumbai slums
New Delhi: On Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) published the results of its sero-survey, which was done to assess the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Mumbai. The survey which studied nearly 7,000 people across three wards in Mumbai found that one in six or about 16 per cent of those surveyed in the city had contracted the highly contagious novel coronavirus. Whereas, in slum areas, where lakhs of people live in cramped spaces usually sharing toilets, the number is a whopping 57 per cent.
The sero-survey was initiated on July 3, by the civic body, in collaboration with NITI-Aayog and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. The study is basically the random sampling in which a group of individuals undergo blood tests to detect the presence of Immunoglobulin-G (IgG) antibodies, which are produced by the body’s immune system on being exposed to a virus.
Explaining the blood test done in the random sampling as a part of sero-survey, Suresh Kakani, Additional Commissioner, BMC said,
The blood serum of a group of individual is tested to see if the person in past has contracted the virus, if the blood test shows the presence of antibodies then it means the human body had contracted COVID-19 in the past and now has antibodies to fight against the virus. This way, the sero-survey helps to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 infection in one community.
Key Findings Of Sero-Survey Done In Mumbai
The survey was conducted in Mumbai’s Chembur, Matunga and Dahisar areas and according to the official statement released by the BMC, the survey done to understand the spread of novel coronavirus has the following findings:
a. Overall, the survey found that about 40.5 per cent of all tested in both slums and residential areas had been exposed to the virus
b. The survey also found that share of asymptomatic patients is high as none of the participants in the Mumbai sero-survey had undergone an RT-PCR test before, meaning that these individuals either had no symptoms or only mild symptoms that did not warrant suspicion of an infection
c. The survey also revealed that the prevalence of coronavirus was marginally higher in women than men in Mumbai, although the survey did not share data on the proportion of male-female samples. Taking together the current prevalence (estimated here) and records from BMC on reported deaths, the survey reported that the Infection fatality rate (IFR) is very low between 0.05 per cent and 0.10 per cent. IFR is the ratio of the number of deaths that occur from a disease in the total number of infected people.
Highlighting the interpretations of the findings of the sero-survey in Mumbai, Mr Kakani added,
The results suggest that the asymptomatic infections are higher in the city, which is a very positive finding, as in the past, we have seen, chances of the asymptomatic patient getting recovered from the virus are very high. Secondly, the findings show that the prevalence of the virus is higher in slums and lower in other areas and that could be possibly due to higher population density in the slum regions. Thirdly, the findings also highlight the importance of maintaining social distancing and access to better hygiene and that could be possibly a reason why in other areas than slums, the spread of the virus is less. Lastly, although it is still unclear what level of prevalence leads to herd immunity, our findings indicate that at least in slums, this could be attained sooner than later, if the immunity exists and persists in a significant proportion of the population.
Talking about the survey and its findings, Dr Ullas S Kolthur from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), which conducted the survey along with BMC and NITI Aayog said,
The results of the survey are definitely encouraging if we take the findings in context, it is a possibility that sooner or later Mumbai slums will reach to herd immunity, as about 57 per cent people surveyed have got infected. We will also be doing a follow-up sero-survey in some days and that should give us a clearer picture.
According to the BMC, another serosurveillance will start next month in the same three wards for a comparative study to gauge the spread of COVID-19 infection.
Stressing on the importance of the sero-surveys, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, these help to understand the proportion of the population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 infection including asymptomatic individuals. Depending upon the level of sero-prevalence of infection, appropriate public health interventions can be planned and implemented for prevention and control of the disease.
Currently, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai is 1,10,846 with 717 fresh cases reported on Tuesday. 2,467 patients have also been discharged, taking the total number of recovered people in the city to 84,411, whereas the total active cases are 20,251 and death toll stands at 6184, as per the Municipal Corporation Greater Mumbai officials.
On Monday, on a day Mumbai recorded its highest coronavirus testing figures with almost 9,000 tests, for the first time in the last 100 days, the city reported only 700 positive cases from these tests. Sharing the good news on social media, Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray said,
The good news: Only 700 cases today in Mumbai & that too with highest testing till date in Mumbai in a single day(8776).This is chasing the virus in full capacity. A major relief after 3 months. Caution: don’t let the guard down! Don’t let your mask down! Only get numbers down!
The good news: Only 700 cases today in Mumbai & that too with highest testing till date in Mumbai in a single day(8776).This is chase the virus in full capacity. A major relief after 3 months.
Caution: don’t let the guard down! Don’t let your mask down! Only get numbers down!
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) July 28, 2020
In Maharashtra, which is the worst-hit state in India, as many as 7,717 fresh COVID-19 cases, 10,333 discharges and 282 deaths have been reported in the state on Tuesday. The total cases in Maharashtra is now close to 4 lakhs (3,91,440) including 2,32,277 discharged, 14,165 deaths and 1,44,694 active cases, said Maharashtra health department.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.