Covid-19: Second sero-survey begins in Pune

This has been attributed to the delay in admitting patients into hospitals.

A second and a much larger serological study is being conducted in Pune to gauge the prevalence of Covid-19. This survey is being carried out by the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), along with the DY Patil Medical College and Research Centre. The study funded by the PCMC will have a sample size of 5,000 people across the industrial township of Pimpri Chinchwad. An antibody-based sero-survey estimates the prevalence of infection in the past in the surveyed population.

The Pimpri-Chinchwad area has so far reported 8.40 lakh Covid-19 positive cases with 2,007 deaths, of which almost 1,000 deaths were reported in September 2020. Pune district has reported 3.15 lakh cases with 7,167 deaths. While the number of daily positive cases has started reducing this month, Pune district still has a high fatality rate at 2.5% compared to the national rate of 1.53%. This has been attributed to the delay in admitting patients into hospitals.

The previous serological surveillance study was conducted in five high-incidence sub-wards coming under the the Pune Municipal Corporation area. This survey studied blood samples of 1,664 people. The survey study released in August 2020 had reported seropositivity rate of 51.5%. The spread of SARS-CoV-2 ranged from 36.1% to 65.4%. This was the highest rate found in any of the sero-surveys conducted in the country.

The study had indicated that there had been an extensive spread of infection in the five high sub-wards. But since then, there has been a surge in Covid-19 cases and it has spread across Pune city and further moved into the entire Pune district, especially after the Ganesh festival.

A high seropositivity rate would mean the worst is behind and that most of the population has already been infected and the pressure on the health infrastructure will ease. The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation had set aside all its hospitals for treating Covid-19 patients. The state government and the civic body had also created two jumbo hospitals to deal with the surge in patients in September.

PCMC commissioner, Shravan Hardikar, said once the survey was completed they would come up with a report in a month which could help the administration understand the spread and the way ahead.

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