A third of the Indian population is without antibodies: ICMR Serosurvey

A third of the Indian population is without antibodies: ICMR Serosurvey

Findings of the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) 4th national Covid serosurvey showed that a third of the population did not have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which means about 400 million people are still vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

Addressing a press conference, ICMR DG Balram Bhargava said that about two-thirds or 67.6 per cent of India’s population aged above 6 years were found to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the latest national serosurvey. The official statement said that the survey covered 28,975 general population and 7,252 healthcare workers. The statement also added that the current fourth round of the survey was conducted in the 70 districts across 21 states where the previous three rounds had been carried out.

Dr Balram Bhargava shared his feeling of hope from the survey findings, saying that the implications of the 4th serosurvey clearly show that there is a ray of hope. “However, there is no room for complacency. We must maintain Covid-appropriate behaviour & community engagement. National-level serosurvey is not a substitute of state/district level serosurvey”, he said.

The survey findings also showed that more than half of the children (6 -17 years) were seropositive, showing that they have been exposed to Covid-19 in the past months. The seroprevalence among children was 57.2 per cent in the age group 6-9 years and 61.6 per cent in the age group 10-17 years.

The survey also showed that about  85 per cent of surveyed healthcare workers had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 while one-tenth of them still remain unvaccinated. At the same time, about 78% of the older people (45-60 years) had antibodies against SARS Covid-19.