38.8% of Kashmir population has COVID-19 anti-bodies: Study

More females than males infected

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, Nov 18: The first-ever seroprevalence study in Kashmir division for SARS COV-2 specific IgG antibodies conducted across all ten districts has shown IgG antibodies (COVID-19 anti-bodies) among 38.8% sampled population of Kashmir districts.
As per the study results, 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 the presence of IgG antibodies specific to SARS COV-2 infection in high tech Abbott Laboratories’ Architect analyser by Department of Biochemistry GMC Srinagar.
The preliminary data presented by Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College Srinagar, the coordinating centre for the study, shows that seroprevalence 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%.
As per the study, the age-wise analysis shows more seroprevalence among the elderly population while gender-wise it’s more among females (40.2%) as against males (37.3%).
“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,” the study reveals.
Half of the sampled population who had a history of contact with a COVID case showed IgG antibodies while among those who had no history of contact, 40% showed IgG antibodies.
“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,” it states.
As per the study, district Pulwama and Budgam lead at 43% seroprevalence across Kashmir division.
Dr S. Muhammad Salim Khan, head of the department, Community Medicine, Government Medical College Srinagar said that the results indicate that there has been a widespread transmission of COVID-19, and the unaffected population can also get infected if the SOPs are not followed.
“There seems complacency among the general population and very few people are now using face masks. The gatherings in public places also show people are not adhering to social distancing norms,” he said.
Pertinent to mention here that the study is conducted by the 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.
The study was funded by JK National Health Mission, the main collaborator of the study, and was approved by the Institutional ethical committee of GMC Srinagar.