Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said serosurvey of pediatric population in the valley would determine the impact of possible third Covid-19 wave on children.
“Serosurvey of children will give us a fair estimate of their vulnerability in predicted third wave,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued to a local news agency, Global News Service (GNS).
“Serosurvey involves testing blood samples of individuals for antibodies that are developed after an infection,” he said.
“This will give us an idea about the percentage of pediatric population who might have developed natural immunity.”
Hassan said recently, a serosurvey of general population including children aged 7 to 17 years has been completed in Kashmir, the results of which are awaited. The sample size per district in the age group 7 to 11 was 40 and it was 80 in 12-17 age group.
“The survey needs to be extended to the age group of 0 to 6 years and the sample size per district should be 500 to 1000 to get a clearer picture of the actual percentage of children who have developed immunity against Covid-19,” he said.
Hassan said there are speculations that children would be affected more than adults in possible third wave as this is the population group in which there is no vaccine yet.
“However, various serosurveys have dismissed the claim that the next wave will be affecting children exclusively,” he said.
“A pediatric serological study conducted by AIIMS, New Delhi at five different sites found that 55.7 percent children had developed antibodies,” DAK President said.
“The study found that seroprevalence of children and adults in the same regions were almost similar.”
“Another study conducted by PGI Chandigarh revealed that 69 percent of children had antibodies against Covid-19,” he said.
“These children had remained either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic during the infection.”
“The data of the two surveys prove that children have acquired natural immunity against the virus and it is highly unlikely that the third wave will affect children more than adults,” said Dr Nisar.
“This is a big relief. Because the apprehensions expressed by several health experts about the third wave primarily targeting children had left people worried,” he said.
“But, we can’t derive conclusions on the data from other regions. We need to have our own data based on which decisions can be made ahead of the feared third wave,” he added.(GNS)