The first serological survey in Assam was launched by the Minister of state for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika on Sunday to assess whether people surveyed have developed immunity to novel coronavirus.
A serological survey involves testing of the blood serum of individuals to check for the prevalence of antibodies against an infection.
The survey titled ''A.A.S.H.A Assessment of Anti- SARSCoV2 Seroprevalence in Habitants of Assam: a population based cross sectional study'' is an initiative of an NGO in partnership with a diagnostics solutions provider.
"The need of the hour today is a seroprevalence study that would identify the proportion of people carrying antibodies against this virus," the minister said.
Mr Hazarika also lauded the effort of Padmapani Bora, an IRS (Indian Rvenue Service) officer from the state, who has been instrumental in initiating the survey.
Despite the infrastructural bottleneck and floods in the state, Assam has been doing exceptionally well in containing the infection, he added.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised states to conduct sero-survey to measure coronavirus exposure among people using IgG Elisa Test (antibody test).
It can reveal insights into the immunity against the coronavirus by detecting presence of specific antibodies against COVID-19.
The IRS officer said that the study will help in estimating the immunity level developed by population groups in the state against coronavirus for taking further containment measures.
The study will help in knowing the distribution of coronavirus infection, which might have been missed by the currently applied testing strategy and method, the extent of immunity among the people of Assam to this infection, managing trustee of ''Srijanasom'', the NGO, Mridusmita Das said.
The survey will also give an opportunity for raising awareness, among those who have recovered, about the necessity of plasma donation, she said.
Medicity Group of Clinics and Diagnostics, Guwahati, will provide assistance in sample collection and laboratory testing.
An analysis of the survey will be carried out under supervision of Assistant Professor, Army College of Medical Science, New Delhi, Dr Jyotismita Pathak.
The study will be conducted according to the guidelines of ICMR. The institutional ethics committee of Assam Downtown University has granted ethical clearance to the proposed study.
National Health Mission, Assam, has directed all deputy commissioners to support the study.