‘Although two-thirds of Indians have COVID-19 antibodies, 40 crore people remain vulnerable’

As the threat of the third wave of COVID-19 looms, the Centre announced on Tuesday (July 20, 2021) that two-thirds of Indians have developed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, but 40 crore people remain vulnerable.

According to the ICMR’s fourth national COVID-19 serosurvey, which was conducted in June and July, the overall seroprevalence was 67.6 percent. It involved over 28,975 people (adults and children), as well as 7,252 healthcare workers, in 70 districts across 21 states, where the previous three rounds were also held.

ICMR Director-General Balram Bhargava stated during a media briefing on the COVID-19 situation, “Two-thirds of the general population above the age of six, or 67.6 percent, were found to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the latest national serosurvey.”

“A third of the population lacked SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which means that approximately 40 crore people are still vulnerable to COVID-19 infection,” he added.

According to the ICMR chief, those who lack antibodies are vulnerable to infection waves.

He stated that in the ICMR’s fourth national COVID-19 serosurvey, which included 2,892 in the 6-9 years age group, 5,799 in the 10-17 years age group, and 20,284 in the 18-44 years age group, the seroprevalence in the 6-9 years age group was 57.2 percent, in the 10-17 years age group, it was 61.6 percent, in the 18-44 years, it was 66.7 percent, in the 45-60 years age group, it

Seroprevalence was found to be 66.7 percent in rural areas and 69.6 percent in urban areas.

Seroprevalence was found to be 66.7 percent in rural areas and 69.6 percent in urban areas.

Seroprevalence is the percentage of people in a population who have antibodies against an infectious agent.

The seroprevalence was 24.1% in the third serosurvey, which was conducted in December-January.

According to the ICMR Director-General, the findings provide a ray of hope, but there is no room for complacency, and COVID-appropriate behaviour and community engagement must be maintained.

Bhargava also stated that 85% of the healthcare workers polled had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and that one-tenth of HCWs were still unvaccinated.

There was no coronavirus vaccine in 12,607 adults, or 62.2 percent, while 24.8 percent or 5,038 adults surveyed had received one dose of vaccination, and 13% or 2,631 had received both doses.

According to vaccination status, seroprevalence was seen in 62.3 percent of unvaccinated people, 81% of those who received a single dose of the vaccine, and 89.8 percent of fully vaccinated people.

According to the ICMR chief, the state heterogeneity indicates the possibility of future waves of infection.

“There may be some states where the vulnerable population is much higher, so the chances of future waves are higher in those states,” he added.

Bhargava advised that societal, public, religious, and political gatherings be avoided, and that non-essential travel be avoided unless fully vaccinated.

During a press conference, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul stated that 40 crore people lack antibodies and that the pandemic is far from over.

“The second wave is still going on, and the risk of new outbreaks is still very real,” he said.

In terms of the overall situation in the country, Paul stated that Kerala is still experiencing a “static to slight rise,” while Maharashtra is experiencing some decline.

“Andhra Pradesh remains a source of concern, with 46 districts showing more than 10% positivity,” he said.

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