ISLAMABAD-The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) on Friday retracted from the survey result shared earlier which said 290,000 individuals in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) were exposed to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The National Institute of Health (NIH) earlier sharing the results of survey had said that the calculated prevalence of COVID-19 in ICT is 14.5% which translates to 290,000 individuals in ICT have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and have developed the immunoglobulins against the virus. 

It said that this should be seen in the context that a vast majority of the individuals already exposed to the virus are asymptomatic and therefore escape detection. This was one of the objectives of this survey to uncover the hidden/already exposed individuals in the communities and these must not be taken as new cases/patients.

Meanwhile, the ministry issued a statement that “results from sero-prevalence studies of preliminary nature should not be seen as reflective of the true incidence of disease in the population - Ministry of Health ‘Incomplete data’ must not be used to draw inferences regarding incidence or prevalence of COVID-19 in Islamabad.

It said the ministry has issued an official hand-out according to which a screening exercise for assessing the presence of Coronavirus antibodies was conducted in the Islamabad Capital Territory during June 2020.

It added that review of data set and sample procedures validation activity, along with peer review of data for control of confounders is currently underway, for the said activity. In the absence of completion of all these follow-up confirmatory processes, the community based preliminary findings should not be used to estimate the disease burden at the population level.