COVID-19 third wave unlikely to hit children disproportionately: AIIMS study
The WHO-AIIMS study revealed that sero-prevalence was 55.7% in the less-than-18-years group and 63.5% among adults of age 18 and above.
The widely anticipated third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is unlikely to impact the children “disproportionately”, according to a new study which found that the level of sero-positivity among kids is comparable to the adults during the second wave of the epidemic.
Findings of the study show sero-prevalence was 55.7% in the less-than-18-years group and 63.5% among adults of age 18 years and above.
“The SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity rate among children was high and comparable to the adult population. Hence, it is unlikely that any future third wave by prevailing Covid-19 variant would disproportionately affect children two years or older,” said a pre-print of the study published in medRxiv.
The interim findings that have appeared on medRxiv, a pre-print server, 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 five states. The data collection period was from March 15 to June 10 from five sites -- Delhi Urban Resettlement Colony, Delhi Rural (villages in Faridabad district of Haryana under Delhi-NCR), Bhubaneswar Rural, Gorakhpur rural and Agartala rural.
The findings are part of an ongoing multi-centric, population-based, age-stratified prospective Covid-19 sero-prevalence study under WHO (World Health Organization) Unity studies conducted by experts, including doctors from the AIIMS -- Director Randeep Guleria and Professors from the Department of Centre for Community Medicine Puneet Misra, Shashi Kant and Sanjay K Rai -- in the five selected states with a proposed total sample size of 10,000.
The study comes amidst a growing concern among the parents on a possible third wave of the epidemic and its impacts on children as a substantial number of the adults is likely to receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by November when the third wave is anticipated to surface.
The study findings show that irrespective of the age-groups, rural sites had lower sero-positivity compared to urban areas. Within the rural sites, children had slightly lower sero-positivity compared to adults. “However, this differential prevalence was not observed in the urban sites,” the study said.
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