Police personnel in Jammu and Kashmir have the highest level of antibodies against COVID-19 compared to the general population in the valley, says a study by the Government Medical College in Srinagar.
Among the police personnel surveyed across 10 districts in Jammu and Kashmir, 95 per cent has developed antibodies against coronavirus, followed by healthcare workers with 91 per cent seroprevalence.
The percentage of individuals in a population who have antibodies to an infectious agent is called seroprevalence.
Doctors say there is a direct correlation between vaccination and developing highest levels of antibodies among police personnel. The police have achieved almost 100 per cent vaccination.
The study conducted in July by Government Medical College also said Kashmir valley has a seroprevalence of 84 per cent - much higher than the national average of 67 per cent.
The study says it found 78 per cent children between seven and 18 years old had been exposed to COVID-19 and they have developed antibodies against the virus.
"Among seven years old and above, the overall prevalence was 84 per cent, which is possibly the highest in India as on date. Secondly, we had subsets of population which include healthcare workers, policemen and pregnant women. In police, we found 95 per cent has developed antibodies against COVID-19," said Dr Salim Khan, professor and head of department of community medicine at Government Medical College in Srinagar.
This was the fourth such survey carried out in the last 18 months, after COVID-19 reached India.
According to the study, 89 per cent people above 45 years has developed antibodies, 84 per cent in the age group above 18 years, and 78 per cent between age group of seven and 18 years.
"When we divided it (study) into the age group of seven to 18 - the group which has not been vaccinated yet - surprisingly we found 78 per cent of them has developed antibodies. We would take it as a good indicator that if the government decides to open schools, around 80 per cent of schoolchildren might be having antibodies against infection," said Dr Salim.
This encouraging signs among children beg a question - should the government open schools in a staggered manner?
Even before the pandemic arrived early last year, students had been missing classes in parts of Jammu and Kashmir since August 2019 after special status to the state was revoked and it was divided into two Union Territories.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has decided to open schools for Classes 10 and 12 with 50 per cent attendance.
As part of the survey, a three-level testing procedure was followed for all age groups. While the signs are encouraging, however, experts say people should continue to follow social distancing and other Covid-appropriate behaviour.