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51 per cent of children have developed antibodies against COVID-19: BMC

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A man dressed as a clown distributes face masks to children in a slum area, amidst the coronavirus outbreak, in Mumbai, India. | Image: Reuters

Amid fear of the third COVID-19 wave hitting children, a serosurvey conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has revealed that 51 per cent of children have developed antibodies against COVID-19. The survey tested blood samples of 2,176 children.

The survey was conducted from April 1 to June 15 across 24 civic wards of the city. The serosurvey was conducted by the BYL Nair Hospital and Kasturba Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory of the BMC. It tested 2,176 blood samples received from the public and private laboratories. While 1,283 samples were from public labs, 893 were from the network of two private labs.

The survey shows improved seropositivity than a study whose results came in March. The overall seropositivity is 51.18 per cent including 54.36 per cent from public labs and 47.03 per cent from private labs. Seropositivity is highest in the age group 10-14 years at 53.43 per cent. The seropositivity rate in the age group of one to four years is 51.04 per cent, in the age group of five to nine years it is 47.33 per cent and in the age group of 15 to 18 years, it is 51.39 per cent.

Suresh Kakani, the additional municipal commissioner said, “There is a raise in seropositivity in the paediatric populace to COVID-19 as compare to the serosurvey 3 conducted in March. The previous survey found 39 per cent seropositivity below the age of 18 years which indicates that a noteworthy percentage of children accessing healthcare services were exposed to the virus during the second wave of Covid-19,” said Sero-surveys in the city so far.

In March, the third serosurvey conducted for all age groups found that seropositivity against COVID-19 increased in non-slum areas and decreased in slum areas. The survey tested 10,197 citizens and found seropositivity in 36.30 per cent of them.

According to the survey, 41.6 per cent seropositivity was found in samples from civic hospitals (slum areas). In the first survey, slums accounted for 57 per cent seropositivity and in the second survey, they accounted for 45 per cent seropositivity.

In the third survey, blood samples from private laboratories (non-slum areas) showed seropositivity of 28.5 per cent. In the first survey, it was 16 per cent. The second survey found 18 per cent seropositivity in non-slum areas.

The first and second serosurvey was conducted in three wards in July 2020 and in August 2020. In the third survey, blood samples were collected from municipal clinics and private laboratories across the city.

Sero positivity

From April 1-June 15

  • 1 to 4 years – 52.04 per cent
  • 5 to 9 years – 47.33 per cent
  • 10 to 14 years – 53.43 per cent

Conducted in March

Seropositivity below 18 years: 39.4 per cent

  • 1,283 number of samples taken from public labs
  • 893 number of samples taken from private labs

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