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The findings of the latest serosurvey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) suggest close to two-thirds of the Indian population above the age of six have already been infected with the coronavirus in the past two waves. The findings also indicate that about 40 crore people are susceptible to the virus.
This Is the fourth serosurvey and was conducted in June and July i.e. after the second wave started subsiding. For data collection, a total of 28,975 people were tested for the presence of antibodies specific to the SARS-CoV2 virus, and 67.6% of them were found to have it. This survey for the first time included minors in the age group of 6 to 17 years since the third wave is predicted to affect them most. Among this group of subjects, antibodies were discovered in nearly half of them.
When compared to the third serosurvey, conducted in December 2020-January 2021, less than 25% of the surveyed population were found to have the antibodies. The results of the first two surveys were even less.
The survey further suggests that since two-thirds of the population has already been infected, the severity of infections can reduce now. An added relief being that 32 crore people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The Indian Express in their report mentioned that there would be considerable overlap between those who have been infected, and those who have got the vaccine, but the two figures together mean that over 70% of the population over the age of six can be expected to have developed some sort of immunity against the disease. Severe re-infection will not be a concern unless the virus mutates itself to escape immunity.
As ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava also warned, "The implications of this large serosurvey clearly show that there is a ray of hope. But there is no room for complacency. We must maintain Covid-appropriate behaviour," reported The Indian Express.
The survey also assessed 7252 health workers and 85% of them were found to have antibodies against Covid-19.
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