A surfeit of sero surveys 

Source: The Hindu 

Relevance: This article explains the advantages and disadvantages associated with Sero surveys


Though Sero Surveys are useful in detecting the prevalence of antibodies, frequent surveys are expensive and futile


A sero surveillance ascertains the prevalence of past infectious disease in a population; In Covid cases, it helps to detect whether anti-bodies to SARS-CoV2 are present in a population or not.  

The antibodies are like evidence in a crime scene, and the virus is like a criminal.

Read more: Explained: ICMR’s fourth serosurvey and its findings

Benefits of sero surveys: 

  1. For public health authorities, sero surveys provide a variety of use at different phases of the pandemic for policy formulation, effective control of pandemic, etc.
  2. Independent sero surveillance data can expose the level of data suppression. So, the media and epidemiologists use them to show the under-reporting of cases and deaths due to Covid-19. 
  3. Sero surveys can ascertain the details about community transmission. For instance, they can explain whether community transmission has taken place or not.  
  4. Sero surveys can explain how far or close the community to attain to herd immunity. 

Drawbacks of the Sero survey: 

  1. Sero surveillance is expansive (costs around ₹25lakh for a city of 5000 people) and not a good investment for a country still grappling with the pandemic. 
  2. Frequent surveys can result in poor use of staff time, technology and stuff. Further, it will also divert the government attention from core activities (screening and testing). 
  3. Those surveys are no more useful than our COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and vaccinations to control the pandemic.
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