Over 50 Per Cent Of Mumbai Children Have COVID-19 Antibodies: Study

The study finds that a large proportion of children below the age of 18 were exposed to the virus in the second COVID-19 wave.

Amidst news reports suggesting that children could be more susceptible to the imminent third COVID-19 wave, a pediatric sero-survey conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation showed that close to 51 per cent of 2,176 children who were a part of the survey had developed COVID-19 antibodies.

The BMC shared that in comparison to the sero-surveys conducted for all age groups in March 2021, there is a notable increase in children below the age of 18 showing the presence of antibodies. In the March 2021 sero-survey, only 39.1 per cent of the surveyed participants under the age of 18 had COVID-19 antibodies. This led the BMC to conclude that a significant proportion of children were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 during the second COVID-19 wave in the months of April and May.

This sero-survey was conducted between April 1 and June 15, 2021 across the city. Blood samples were collected from both private and public pathological labs. The BMC collected over 1,283 samples from Aapli Chikitsa Network and Nair Hospital of BMC and 893 from a network of two private labs.

The overall paediatric seropositivity was 51.18 per cent of which the public centre showed 54.36 per cent seropositivity and the private sector showed 47.03 per cent seropositivity. Children between the ages of 10-14 exhibited the highest levels of seropositivity (53.43 per cent).

Seropositivity in the other age groups of 1-4 was found to be 51.04 per cent, 5- 9 was 47.33 per cent, and 15-18 was 51.39 per cent. While this sero-survey only discusses the spread of the infection, it does not highlight the severity of the infection.

Officials of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as well as the Niti Aayog have repeatedly stated that there is no substantial evidence to prove that children would be severely affected during the third wave. A study conducted by WHO and AIIMS even found that the seropositivity among children was comparable to the adult population and not significantly different.

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