Hyderabad: About 60 per cent population in Telangana have developed antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2, the fourth round of the sero-prevalence study led by Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR-NIN) in June, 2021, said.
The NIN, which carried out the sero-survey as part the National sero-survey conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has revealed that sero-positivity rate (IgG positivity, indicative of silent, prior exposure to SARS-CoV2) as 60.1 per cent in the State.
The survey was conducted in the districts of Jangaon, Nalgonda and Kamareddy in collaboration with the health department and covered all age groups including children between 6 years and 9 years.
“Although over 60 per cent of people have antibodies, the fact remains that over 40 per cent of the remaining population in Telangana is still susceptible. This is not the time to lower our guard. All non-pharmacological Covid-19 measures like wearing masks, hand sanitization, physical distancing should be continued”, cautioned Dr Hemalatha R, Director, ICMR-NIN.
About 55 per cent of the children between 6 years and 9 years were found to be sero-positive, while 61 per cent of adolescents had Covid-19 antibodies. Among the healthcare workers, the sero-positivity was as high as 82.4 per cent, which is being attributed to early vaccination to the frontline workers, the survey said.
The ICMR strategy has been to do repeat cross-sectional sero-studies in the same geographic locations so that the infection transmission trends could be documented and studied. The first round of the sero-survey, conducted in May 2020 and the second and third rounds were conducted in August and December, 2020 in the same districts showed a sero-prevalence of 0.33, 12.5 and 24.1 per cent respectively.
Interestingly, the study also found that among those who were not vaccinated at all, the sero-positivity was low at 51.3 per cent while among those who received one dose of vaccination, it was 78.5 per cent and it was 94 per cent among those who got both the shots.
“Near 100 per cent sero-positivity among those vaccinated clearly indicates that vaccines are effective. This should remove any vaccine hesitancy and encourage people to get vaccinated as early as possible.” said Dr A Laxmaiah, Head of Public Health Division, ICMR-NIN and Nodal officer for the Telangana Study.
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