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Two-third Indians have antibodies against coronavirus; 40 cr still vulnerable: National serosurvey

The findings of Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR's) fourth national serosurvey have revealed there is some hope for dealing with the pandemic but there is also no margin for error

ICMR had conducted this latest serosurvey in June-July 2021 ICMR had conducted this latest serosurvey in June-July 2021

The health ministry said Tuesday that the finding of the fourth national serosurvey have shown that nearly two-thirds of the country's population above the age of six has developed antibodies against coronavirus. However, 40 crore citizens are still at risk of infection.

The findings of Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR's) fourth national serosurvey have revealed there is some hope for dealing with the pandemic but there is also no margin for error. The Centre has stressed that COVID-19 appropriate behaviours must be followed. ICMR had conducted this latest serosurvey in June-July 2021.

"67.6% of India's population above 6 years found to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in ICMR's latest national serosurvey in June-July," health ministry officials stated. "A third of the population did not have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which means about 40 crore people still vulnerable to Covid-19 infectionn," the ministry officials said.

The ministry said 85 per cent of healthcare workers surveyed have developed antibodies against coronavirus, while nearly 10 per cent of healthcare workers are yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The fourth national serosurvey has covered 28,875 individuals from the general population of the country, along with 7,252 healthcare workers.

"The fourth round of the national serosurvey was conducted in 70 districts in June-July and included children of 6-17 years of age to assess their vulnerability towards Covid-19," said Dr Balram Bhargava, the Director-General of ICMR.

Bhargava added that over half of the children aged between 6-17 years have been exposed to coronavirus, thus developing antibodies against it.

As per the findings, the highest seroprevalence was discovered in the 45-60 age group at 77.6 per cent. While the group above 60 years of age had 76.7 per cent seroprevalence. The 18-44 age group had 66.7 per cent seroprevalence.

Children were divided into two groups -- 6-9 years and 10-17 years -- for the survey. Seroprevalence in the 6-9 age group was 57.2 per cent and 61.9 per cent in the 10-17 age group.

The health ministry has said social, religious and political gatherings should be avoided. It added that non-essential travels should be discouraged. "Travel only if fully vaccinated," said ministry officials.

The ICMR has noted that authorities should consider reopening primary schools first as younger children can better handle COVID-19 infection. "Children can handle viral infection much better as they have lower number of ace receptors. So once the decision is taken and all the staff vaccinated, it would be wise to open primary schools first," ICMR added.

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