The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday announced that it has initiated a community-based sero-survey to estimate the prevalence of the COVID-19 infection among the Indian population. The survey is being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, National Centre for Disease Control with extended support from the state health departments and key stakeholders including the World Health Organization (WHO).
The household-level cross-sectional survey is expected to cover over 24,000 adults distributed equally across four strata of districts categorised on the basis of COVID-19 reported cases. The study which is planned to be conducted through ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test kits will help in determining whether the country has entered the stage of community transmission of Coronavirus spread.
The study will be conducted in randomly selected 69 districts from 21 states and will involve the collection of venous blood samples from 400 randomly selected individuals from 10 clusters in each district. The results of the tests are expected to provide information about the spread of COVID-19 infection in different parts of the country.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to develop a fully indigenous vaccine for COVID-19. The apex medical council and BBIL shall use the virus strain isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. The virus strain has successfully been transferred from NIV to BBIL.
A press release by the ICMR earlier had informed that work on the development of a vaccine has been initiated between the two partners. ICMR-NIV has also assured continuous support for the vaccine development to BBIL. "ICMR and BBIL will seek fast-track approvals to expedite vaccine development, subsequent animal studies and clinical evaluation of the candidate vaccine," the press release further read.