The Centre has advised all states and Union territories to conduct seroprevalence surveys in consultation with the ICMR to generate district-level data on seroprevalence which is essential in formulating localised public health response measures.
This was stated in a letter written by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to additional chief secretaries/principal secretaries/secretaries (Health) of all states/UTs, a statement by the Union health ministry said.
The ministry also shared findings of the recent national serosurvey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) across 70 districts of the country, according to which the seroprevalence was found to be 79 percent among the surveyed population in Madhya Pradesh, 58 percent in Maharashtra, 44.4 percent in Kerala, 76.2 percent in Rajasthan, 75.9 percent in Bihar.
It was 75.3 percent in Gujarat, 71.0 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 69.8 percent in Karnataka, 69.2 in Tamil Nadu, 68.1 percent in Odisha, 66.5 in Punjab, 63.1 in Telangana, 50.3 in Assam and 60.9 in West Bengal.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Referring to the findings of the fourth round of the national seroprevalence survey done by ICMR, the ministry has advised states/UTs to conduct the seroprevalence studies in their own regions in consultation with the ICMR, so that such studies follow a standardised protocol, and the findings can then be utilised by the respective state and UT to guide objective, transparent and evidence-based public health response to COVID-19.
"The national serosurvey by ICMR was designed to capture the extent of the spread of Covid infection at the national level. Therefore, the national serosurvey results do not reflect the heterogeneity of seroprevalence between districts and even between states," the statement said.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.