Recently the pan-Kashmir survey by government medical college Srinagar in collaboration with Community Medicine departments of SKIMS, SKIMS Medical College Srinagar, GMCs of Anantnag and Government Baramulla, estimating the prevalence of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the population, was released. The survey, conducted in July, reported a prevalence of 84.4 per cent in the general population aged over 7 years.
Within each district, 10 clusters were randomly selected and within each cluster 40 samples were collected from individuals more than 7 years of age.
Total samples processed and reported include 3586 samples from the general population with mean age of 35.33 ±18 years. Further, 2077 samples have been processed and reported from among the police personnel, HCW and antenatal women.
During the time of study in July 2021, a total of 20.3% participants had received 2 doses of vaccination and the majority (79.25) had received none. However, since then the vaccination has scaled up and the sero positivity due to vaccination would have gone up also.
While antibody surveys are useful to gauge the extent of virus spread across the population, experts cautioned that these numbers cannot be taken to fit a particular area.
Importantly, the antibodies can lose their efficacy over time. Vaccination is the only weapon that is effective in the fight against the pathogen. The Covid-appropriate behaviour, including masking and social distancing, must also be strictly enforced. Any slackness based on the serosurvey could prove dangerous. In fact, the sample size of the survey is small and cannot reflect the ground reality. The people associated with the survey rightly cautioned against the tendency to extrapolate the serosurvey findings to draw conclusions across the Valley. Lessons must be learnt from the devastation caused by the second wave. There is no time to lose and no room for laxity.