02 Jun 2021: COVID-19: 4th serosurvey to focus on kids, rural areas
A fourth national serological survey to monitor the spread of the coronavirus will be held this month. Reportedly, this serosurvey—which will be conducted by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR)—will bring increased attention to children and rural areas. Notably, the second wave of COVID-19 has seen more outbreaks in India's rural areas and more younger people are now developing severe infections.
Survey: 28,000 blood samples to be analyzed this month
The ICMR will conduct a serosurvey in June with 28,000 blood samples, according to NDTV. Among those sampled, 14,000 would be from adults, while 14,000 would be from children above the age of six. The survey will monitor the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, across the country and also prepare for a possible third wave of infections.
Children: Fear over kids becoming more susceptible to COVID-19 grows
There is growing concern that the virus may target more children as it mutates. In an alarming case, 8,000 children and teenagers tested positive for COVID-19 in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, last month. However, AIIMS chief Dr. Randeep Guleria had earlier said that there is no indication that children will be more affected. The Indian Academy of Paediatrics also shared this view.
Vaccinations: Increased calls to vaccinate kids
The concerns about children possibly being affected by COVID-19 to a greater degree have also fuelled calls for vaccinating the demographic. Currently, only those aged over 18 are allowed to be vaccinated in India. The three vaccines in India—Covishield, COVAXIN, and Sputnik V—have not been cleared for use in children. COVAXIN has started trials on the 2-18 age group.
Past surveys: Last survey found 21% exposure to COVID-19
The third national serosurvey was conducted in India between December 7, 2020, and January 8, 2021. The survey had found that over 21% of India's population (above the age of 10) had been exposed to COVID-19. This was a massive jump from the 7% population exposure detected in the second serosurvey (conducted between August 17 to September 22).
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