This Monday, the National Institute of Health (INS) –together with local authorities, academic and research institutions– released the pilot of the Seroprevalence Study in Barranquilla, with which it seeks to establish the behavior of the SARS-Cov2 virus in this territory after having passed the first peak of the pandemic and that a large part of the city shows higher rates of seroprevalence.
For this investigation, the health authorities explained, the Ellipse-col technique will be used to detect traces of the virus in the human body.
The director of the INS, Martha Ospina, indicated that the Elipse-col technique, based on Elisa, was based on synthetic peptides that will be used in the seroprevalence study.
He also expressed that this “is very special” because they used the Colombian virus for which he made the genome. He explained that they used the spicule and the membrane, which gives a greater chance of finding antibodies.
“This Elisa was standardized using a combination of synthetic peptides as antigen, we have worked with the National University and we used -to validate- the different sera from people who had symptoms, those who had no symptoms, those who had symptoms and were hospitalized and from person who never had symptoms, “he said.
He assured that the specificity and sensitivity found in the pilot test was 91%: “It is very high. It’s really our tailor-made test. “
The director of the INS also said that many of the answers that the country hopes to find about the impact of Covid-19 will be answered with this study that is being carried out throughout the country.
Regarding Barranquilla, he said that because it is a port city and a benchmark in the Caribbean region, “it will provide the necessary data to estimate seroprevalence on the coast, which will provide vital information for the region.”
The authorities explained that the study will allow finding answers to questions such as: how many people were infected, how many developed immunity against the virus and what were the risk factors associated with the infection, among others.
For his part, the mayor of Barranquilla, Jaime Pumarejo, said that “the institutional, medical and scientific capacity of our people” made the National Institute of Health choose the city as one of the points where the study will be carried out.
“This will help us make better decisions, because this study will be a representative sample of how the pandemic has occurred in Barranquilla, who has been infected, in which neighborhoods they have been infected, who is missing and who is susceptible to being infected” , assured the mayor.
The district president stressed that in this way the next decisions to be made for the management of the pandemic and the recovery of employment may be with more accurate data and with detailed and first-hand information.
Humberto Mendoza, district secretary of Health, pointed out that the Caribbean region will benefit greatly from the study “because Barranquilla continues to be a reference center for health care in the region.”
“We are attentive from the Mayor’s Office of Barranquilla, which is actively participating in this study, and we hope it will produce useful and timely information that will serve for decision-making,” he said.
For her part, the departmental health secretary, Alma Solano, highlighted the importance of the study to continue making the right decisions for the good of the community.
For the director of DANE, Juan Daniel Oviedo, the entity’s contributions to the study will be “maps of the places that will be visited by the INS field team during the investigation.”
Researchers in the field. A delegation of 27 INS researchers arrived in Barranquilla this weekend to start the field study of the research project that seeks to determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Colombia. They will be supported by 48 researchers from the District Health Department.
“The households have already been previously selected and the samples will be taken randomly in order to reduce biases or possible errors in the measurement,” said the director of the INS, Martha Lucía Ospina.
For 10 days and complying with the strictest biosafety protocols, the team of researchers will survey and perform blood tests on 1,648 Barranquilla residents who make up the necessary sample.