The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in collaboration with the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the Telangana government, is preparing to conduct a rapid survey in five containment zones in Hyderabad on May 30 and 31 to understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus among the urban population in the state.
The rapid survey in five randomly selected containment zones is aimed at monitoring the trends of community transmission of COVID-19, if any, among the urban population, NIN Director R Hemalatha said on Friday.
This is part of the ICMR's district level sero-surveillance survey that was taken up in Jangaon, Kamareddy and Nalgonda, where 1,200 samples were collected for analysis in the first phase.
Under the first phase, the ICMR covered 69 districts from 21 states across the country, including three districts in Telangana. The results are awaited.
"In the current phase, similar surveillance survey is proposed in 13 hotspot cities in India, of which Hyderabad happens to be one. In the city, five containment zones have been selected randomly and 500 adults with 100 per containment zone will be randomly covered in the study," NIN researchers said.
For the rapid survey, 10 teams and five coordinators from ICMR-NIN will be supported by the state health authorities, district administrations of Hyderabad and Rangareddy, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), district medical personnel and grass-root level health functionaries.
"While this ends the first phase of the study, the ICMR proposes to carry out four more rounds of survey in the coming months at different time points in the same rural and urban clusters. This initial phase would serve as a baseline to determine the sero-prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection in the community, while the subsequent rounds would help to monitor the trends of infection among the population of the select zones. The study findings will be useful to guide in designing and implementing appropriate public health preventive measures," said Dr Hemalatha.
Earlier, the NIN, in association with the state government, had taken up house-to-house survey in 30 villages across Jangaon, Kamareddy and Nalgonda districts as part of the community based sero-surveillance.
The NIN's 15 field teams collected 1200 samples from 30 villages in three districts. A total of 10 random villages were selected in each of the three districts.
Researchers say since SARS-CoV-2 causes asymptomatic infection, sero-surveillance is strongly recommended for active case finding, testing and contact-tracing.
Surveillance of antibody-based sero-positivity indicates the extent of spread of infection in the given population and forms the basis for strengthening public health mitigation measures. Household-based studies can generate evidence on the role of asymptomatic and mild infections in transmission, the NIN said.
(With IANS inputs)