COVID 3rd Wave Unlikely to Affect Children More: AIIMS, WHO Study
The study found that sero positivity among children is high and comparable to the adult population.
Children are unlikely to be affected disproportionately if a third wave of COVID-19 pandemic hit India, found an interim result of an ongoing study jointly conducted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The study, which is yet to be peer reviewed, has revealed that sero positivity among children is high and comparable to the adult population. The study was conducted in five states in India with samples from both rural and urban areas and included 10,000 children between the ages of 2-17.
“It may not be true that children will be disproportionately affected in the third wave as the serosurvey shows seropositivity was almost equal in all age groups. But govt is not leaving any stone unturned in terms of preparations,” said DR Luv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry.
In rural areas, the seropositivity rate is 56 percent in persons below 18 years of age and 63 percent in persons above 18. In urban areas, it is 78 percent in persons below 18 and 79 percent in above 18.
Isolated Cases of Infection Likely to Occur
The interim analysis results are based on the data of 4,500 participants from four states. Blood samples of these participants were tested for total serum antibody or seroprevalence with the help of standard ELISA kit.
The information show that the children were infected but it was very mild. Only isolated cases of infection may occur in children during the third wave of COVID, said Dr VK Paul of the NITI Aayog.
Speaking to FIT during a livestream, Dr Rakesh Mishra, former director of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad said, “We haven't seen anything in the virus that indicates it prefers certain age-groups.”
Speaking in the same live stream, Dr Giridhar Babu, epidemiologist and professor at Public Health Foundation of India, added:
“The virus will seek those who are uninfected. So, any age-group that is uninfected or unvaccinated, the virus will find them when it transmits. These people, who we call susceptible, are at a risk of catching the virus in the future waves.”
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