Two-thirds of Indians have antibodies, shows ICMR survey

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published Published on Jul 20, 2021   modified Modified on Jul 21, 2021

-The Hindu

40 crore people still vulnerable to infection; over 50% of children surveyed found to be seropositive

While two-thirds of the general population had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, a third does not have antibodies, making approximately 40 crore people still vulnerable to infections, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday.

Presenting the results of the fourth national COVID serosurvey, Dr. Bhargava said States, districts and areas without antibodies run the risk of infection waves.

No rural-urban divide

“The survey noted that more than half of the children (6-17 yr) were seropositive while sero-prevalence was similar in rural and urban areas. It was also found that 85% of health care workers (HCWs) had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 while one-tenth of the HCWs were unvaccinated,” he said.

On the implications of the latest survey means for the general public, Dr. Bhargava said while offering a ray of hope, the survey makes it clear that there is no room for complacency.

“This national serosurvey is not a substitute for local (State/district) variations. State heterogeneity indicates the possibility of future waves of infection. We strongly suggest that societal, public, religious and political congregations be avoided, non-essential travel be discouraged and travel should be undertaken only if fully vaccinated,” the ICMR chief said.

He added that the country has to work towards ensuring the full vaccination of all healthcare workers while accelerating vaccination coverage in vulnerable population groups.

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The Hindu, 20 July, 2021,

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