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COVID-19’s Third Wave Unlikely to Disproportionately Affect Children: WHO-AIIMS Study

AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria and Professors Puneet Misra, Shashi Kant and Sanjay K Rai are part of the elite group conducting the study.

A Child playing with his mask in New Delhi (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: An ongoing study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), found that the infection rate of COVID-19 among children was comparable to adults which makes it highly unlikely that a third wave would disproportionately affect the children.

The interim findings have shown out of the 4,509 positive cases analysed, 700 were children aged between 2-17and 3,809 aged 18 years and above.

AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria and Professors Puneet Misra, Shashi Kant and Sanjay K Rai are part of the elite group conducting the study.

The data collection period was from March 15 to June 10 from five sites which are:

  • Delhi Urban Resettlement Colony.
  • Delhi Rural (villages in Faridabad district of Haryana under Delhi-NCR).
  • Bhubaneswar Rural. Odisha
  • Gorakhpur rural. Uttar Pradesh
  • Agartala rural. Tripura

The findings are part of an ongoing serosurvey study that aims at collecting 10,000 samples from these five states.

“The seroprevalence was 55.7 per cent in the below 18 years age group and 63.5 per cent in the above 18 years age group. There was no statistically significant difference in prevalence between adults and children,” the findings stated.

Additional data stated that children affected from COVID-189 numbered 92 in Delhi Urban Resettlement Colony, 189 in Delhi Rural, 165 in Bhubaneswar Rural, 146 in Gorakhpur rural and 108 in Agartala rural.

Furthermore, rural areas reported a lower seropositivity rate as compared to urban areas. Children reported a lower seropositivity rate than adults in the villages while the cities showed no such difference.

“There was a slightly higher seropositivity rate observed among female children. This finding was in contrast to the meta-analysis where it was shown that the prevalence is higher in men. This may be a chance finding due to the small number of data available at the time of mid-term analysis,” the study stated.

50.9 per cent of children in the survey had asymptomatic COVID-19 symptoms.

The second nationwide seroprevalence study done in August-September 2020 had reported a nine per cent seropositivity among 3,021 children aged 10-17 years while according to this study, it is 60.3 per cent.

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With inputs from PTI

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