Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 17
In the first national evidence that a probable third wave of Covid-19 may not affect children more, AIIMS, New Delhi, researchers have found antibodies against SARS-Cov2 virus in more than 55 per cent of the children and over 60 per cent adults surveyed during the second wave.
- 62.3% rural population surveyed shows past infection
- 0-18 age group (school going) in south Delhi had as much seroprevalence (73.9%) as adults (74.8%)
- With children reporting high seroprevalence in congested urban Delhi, opening schools may not be risky
- Authors say study was done to see if a probable third wave will affect children more
Experts have reported large-scale Covid spread through the ferocious second wave finding antibodies to the virus in three out of five rural people surveyed. “Hopefully high levels of infections in parts may ward off a potential third wave,” they say. Set for publication in peer reviewed journals, the study, in a first, also reveals that children and adults are equally susceptible to Covid-19.
Data for the ongoing study was collected from urban and rural areas of Delhi, Faridabad, Gorakhpur, Bhubaneshwar and Agartala between March 15 and June 10.
It revealed SARS-CoV-2 sero-positivity rate of 55.7 per cent among children (under 18 years), 63.5 per cent among adults (over 18 years) and 62.3 per cent in the rural population.
“SARS-CoV-2 sero-positivity rate among children was high as comparable to adults. It is unlikely that any future third wave by prevailing Covid-19 variant will disproportionately affect children two years or older,” said AIIMS New Delhi’s Puneet Misra, lead author of the paper which reported Covid prevalence in children under 10 for the first time.
The ICMR’s December 2020 survey had covered 10 to 17 year olds finding 25 per cent infection rate, similar to adults.
The AIIMS research shows that during the second wave, Faridabad (rural) had a seroprevalence of 59.3 per cent across children and adults.
The school going age group in south Delhi had a high seroprevalence rate of 73.9 per cent as against 74.8 per cent in adults. “Gorakhpur rural has a very high seroprevalence of 87.9 per cent (80.6 per cent in 2 to 18 year olds and 90.3 per cent in adults). Hopefully these levels of infection should ward off any third wave,” researchers say as the proportion of people susceptible to infection narrows.
Importantly, among children, while 2-4 year olds and 5-9 year segment had identical sero-positivity (42.4 per cent and 43.8 per cent), those aged 10 to 17 had 60.3 p per cent prevalence. The study found a slightly higher sero-positivity rate in female children and a wide Covid spread in kids.
Where the second national survey in August 2020 had reported 9 per cent Covid prevalence in 10-17 year olds, AIIMS has reported 60.3 per cent — multifold rise. The study covered 4,509 persons (700 children; 3,809 adults).
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