NEW DELHI: The second serosurvey by the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) to assess the real exposure of the Indian population to the Covid-19 virus has shown that over 6.6% of the individuals, or 1 in 15 of those above 10 years, had been exposed to Covid-19 by August.
In a press briefing on Covid-19 outbreak management, ICMR director-general Dr. Balram Bhargava said that the results were based on testing the blood samples from 29,082 individuals in the same 70 districts were the first national serosurvey was carried out in May-June.
Pointing out that still a low percentage of the population had been exposed to the virus, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan stressed that it implied that a “large chunk of the population is still susceptible to the pathogen."
The scientific study has also found that for every reported case, there were 26-32 actual cases of infection. In absolute numbers, this translates to roughly 9.1-11.2 crore of Covid-19 cases by the end of August when the official number was less than 35 lakhs.
In the first serosurvey conducted by the health research body in May-June, the overall seropositivity was found to be 0.73% and for every reported case, there were 82-130 cases of possible infections.
Officials underlined that the lower infection to case ratio in August compared to May reflects a substantial increase in testing and detection across India.
While the first survey had tested only the adult population in 700 villages or wards in districts across 22 states, in the latest one, blood samples from those above 10 years of age were also collected to check for the antibodies against Covid-19.