Children are unlikely to be affected disproportionately should a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit India, interim findings of an ongoing sero survey has shown. The study is yet to be peer reviewed but was shared on medRxiv, an online portal for unpublished reports on medical sciences.
The study has revealed that sero-positivity among children is high and comparable to the adult population. The findings are part of a multi-centric, population-based, age-stratified prospective Covid-19 sero survey under World Health Organization Unity studies. Doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, including its chief Randeep Guleria, were involved in the survey.
“The seroprevalence was 55.7% in the below 18 years age group and 63.5% in the above 18 years age group,” the findings stated. “There was no statistically significant difference in prevalence between adults and children.”
According to the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, serology tests are “those that look for antibodies in blood”. Antibodies are immune molecules produced by the body to fight pathogens. The presence of antibodies in the blood typically suggests that people infected with a virus would gain immunity for some period of time.
The interim findings are based on a mid-term analysis of the data of the 4,509 participants – 700 children in the 2-17 years age group and 3,809 aged 18 years and above – from sites across five states. The sites included Delhi Urban Resettlement Colony, Delhi Rural (villages in Faridabad district of Haryana, Bhubaneswar Rural (Odisha), Gorakhpur Rural (Uttar Pradesh) and Agartala Rural (Tripura).
Irrespective of the age group, rural sites had a lower sero-positivity rate compared to the urban site in Delhi. In the rural sites, children had a slightly lower sero-positivity rate than adults. However, this differential prevalence was not observed in the urban site, according to the findings.
The findings come amid concerns raised by various entities, including state governments, regarding a probable third wave of Covid-19, where children are likely to be affected the most. However, while addressing a press conference last month, Guleria had said there was no indication to suggest the possibility.