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What Does The Sero Survey 4 Tell Us About The Third Wave Of COVID-19? Experts Explain

In the third sero survey conducted in December-January, 2021, the sero-prevalence was 24.1 per cent

The fourth serosurvey shows there is a ray of hope, but there is no room for complacency: ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava
Highlights
  • First national survey to test for antibodies in those under the age of 18
  • 67.6% of Indians over the age of six had COVID-19 antibodies: Sero survey
  • Over 50% of 8,691 children between the age of six and 17 had antibodies

New Delhi: The government on July 20 announced the findings of the fourth national sero survey and said that two-thirds of the population – aged above six years – has SARS-CoV-2 antibodies but stressed that around 40 crore people are still vulnerable to the infection. State heterogeneity ‘indicates the possibility of future waves of infection,’ the government warned, adding that people should travel only if fully vaccinated.

Also Read: Effects Of Future Waves Of COVID-19 On Children Are Speculations: Doctor

The fourth serosurvey shows there is a ray of hope, but there is no room for complacency. We must maintain Covid-appropriate behaviour, ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava said.

A survey of 36,227 people, including 7,252 healthcare workers, conducted across 70 districts in 21 states in June-July indicated 67.6 per cent of Indians over the age of six had COVID-19 antibodies.

Over 50 per cent of 8,691 children between the age of six and 17 who were tested also had the antibodies.

This was the first national survey to test for antibodies in those under the age of 18, a decision taken amid widespread concern that future waves could affect children.

The sero prevalence in the age group of 6-9 years was 57.2 per cent, in age group of 10-17 years was 61.6 per cent, in 18-44 years was 66.7 per cent, in 45-60 years was 77.6 per cent and in over 60 years it was around 76.7 per cent, the government said and attributed the rise to the role of delta variant in spreading the second wave and to the vaccination cover.

In the third sero survey conducted in December-January, 2021, the sero-prevalence was 24.1 per cent. Besides, 85 per cent of the surveyed healthcare workers in the fourth round were found to have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and one-tenth were still unvaccinated.

Also Read: Study Shows Why Second Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine Should Not Be Skipped

A third of the population did not have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which means approximately 40 crore people are still vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Those without antibodies run the risk of infection waves, Dr Bhargava said.

Dr Tanmay Mahapatra, public health expert and Epidemiologist talked to NDTV to explain how we should be looking at this sero survey and what does the seropositivity tell us about our fight against COVID right now.

These sero survey are to give us an idea about how infection has spread through the population and where do we stand currently. The presence of antibody among people actually comes from two different sources, it is either through infection or it is because of successful vaccination. The result shows that two-third of population has been infected, it means, firstly, it is still not over, there is no reason to believe that not maintaining the COVID appropriate behaviour needs to continue. Furthermore, it also tells us that vaccinations need to speed up, a large proportion of the population still needs to be vaccinated. We also need to work on vaccine hesitancy and ensure We ramp up vaccinations.

The huge jump in the sero positivity as witnessed from the third sero survey to the fourth, Dr Suneela Garg, Director, Professor, HAG Community Medicine, explains how the data can be looked at.

We have been recording infections continuously, at no point did we stop having fresh COVID-19 cases. At the peak of the second wave, we had about 4 lakh cases daily. Plus, the sero survey has also included people who have taken the vaccine. We are slow at vaccinating our population, but we have still vaccinated over 4 crore people. This explains the big jump in sero positivity.

Also Read: India’s Excess Deaths During Pandemic Likely Up To 4.9 Million: Report

Dr Mahapatra further talked about how the serosurvey doesn’t necessarily tell us about the severity of the third wave, because of the variants. This variant could potentially infect someone who even has antibodies. He explained,

To assume that, since 2 out of the three people have antibodies, the severity or the infectivity of the third wave can be lower than the previous wave is not right. That kind of speculation may be very risky because we are dealing with existing variants and strains, as well as newer mutations. We know how fast the initial variant changed and we had the Delta variant, and also Delta plus. There could be severe in the terms of disease, which has been classified into mild, moderate and severe. After that, we have the complications of those conditions, factors like oxygen dependency, pulmonary functions, among others.

As per the survey, over 50 per cent of the kids between the age group of 6-17 had antibodies as well. Dr Garg says that this shows how children may not be affected the worse in the third wave. She explains,

We have to keep in mind that for children, the infections are lower, milder in nature and subsides easily. We need to protect our children with the COVID appropriate behaviour. So, infection among children will be much less in the third wave and will likely subside fast. So, we don’t have to worry much.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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