Over 50% of Children in Mumbai Have COVID Antibodies: Serosurvey

The proportion of paediatric population having antibodies increased as compared to an earlier conducted serosurvey.

2 min read
Photo used for representational purposes.

A serosurvey conducted in Mumbai between 1 April and 15 June has revealed that more than 51 percent of Mumbai's general paediatric population (below the age of 18) has antibodies for COVID-19.

BYL Nair Hospital and Kasturba Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) conducted the serosurvey of COVID-19 infection among the paediatric population in view of the imminent danger of the third wave to children.

The proportion of the paediatric population having antibodies increased as compared to the findings of a serosurvey conducted earlier.

Taking into consideration that the possible third wave of COVID-19 may affect children, the Municipal Commissioner LS Chahal and Additional Municipal Commissioner (Western Suburbs) Suresh Kakani had directed to conduct a serosurvey of the paediatric population during the second wave itself.

Across 24 wards of Mumbai, a total of 2,176 blood samples were collected from pathology laboratories, including 1,283 from Aapli Chikitsa Network and Nair Hospital of BMC and 893 from the networks of two private labs.

Key Findings:

  • More than 50 percent of the paediatric population in a healthcare setting have already been exposed to SARS-COV-2.
  • The overall seropositivity is 51.18 percent, including 54.36 percent from the public sector and 47.03 percent from private sector. Seropositivity is highest in the age group of 10 to 14 years, at 53.43 percent.
  • Compared to the serosurvey conducted in March 2021, which showed seropositivity of 39.4 percent in the age group under 18 years, the latest survey indicates that a significant proportion of children accessing the healthcare services were exposed to the virus during the second wave.
  • The study has also suggested that for targeted health education and awareness about COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, IEC should include the use of social media platforms (examples include memes, collaborating with social media influencers, etc), cartoon advertisements and catchy jingles.

Referring to the predicted higher risk to children in the third wave, Dr Guleria had said on 23 June, “Children usually have the mild disease but we need to develop vaccines for children because if we have to control this pandemic everyone should be vaccinated.”

An interim result of an ongoing study jointly conducted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi and the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that children are unlikely to be affected disproportionately if the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic hits India. The study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, has revealed that seropositivity among children is high and comparable to the adult population.

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