1 in 15 individuals aged 10 years or above exposed to COVID-19 in India by August: ICMR on second sero-survey result
Photo Credit: ANI

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday released the second national sero-survey. The second sero-survey revealed that one in 15 individuals aged 10 years or above were estimated to be exposed to coronavirus by August 2020.

While talking about ICMR Director-General Balram Bharghav during press briefing said that the objective of the survey was to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among individuals aged 10 years and above.

"It was found that urban slum (15.6 per cent) and non-slum (8.2 per cent) areas had higher SARS-Cov-2 infection prevalence than that of rural areas (4.4 per cent)," said Dr Bhargava during the weekly COVID-19 media update.

The survey highlighted that adjusted prevalence among individuals aged 10 years or above was 6.6 per cent, but prevalence was not different by age group and gender. The COVID-19 prevalence in adults (>= 18 years) was 7.1 per cent.

At least 26-32 infections per reported case by August 2020 (81-130 in May 2020) - underlines the effect of scaled-up testing tracking and treating strategy, he said. He added that "since susceptibility of a considerable section of people, yet unexposed to SARS-Cov-2 still exists, prevention fatigue to be avoided and hence 5T strategy (test, track, trace, treat, technology) to be adhered." The survey also revealed that lower infection to case ratio in August compared to May reflects a substantial increase in testing and detection across India.

The ICMR Director-General said that lockdown/containment and behaviour change at the population level has effectively checked the potential spread of SARS-Cov-2. ICMR Director General also highlighted the city sero-prevalence in India. "For example -Delhi had shown 23.5 % and 29.1% prevalance of infection during first and second round, Mumbai (57.8% in slums, 17.4% in non-slum), Ahmedabad (17.6%), Chennai (21.5%), Puducherry (4.9%, 22.7%) Indore (7.8%).

Dr Bhargava explained: "What is clear from second sero-survey is that we need to do serial sero-survey to find out what is happening in the country." During May 11-June 4, the ICMR conducted its first countrywide sero-survey among adult individuals and it showed 0.73% of overall prevalence of infection.

For the purpose of the survey, blood samples were collected from 29,082 individuals across the country. The survey was conducted in the same 700 villages including wards (in urban) from 70 districts from 21 states covered during the first survey. The second survey was conducted during August 17-September 22, 2020.

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