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Children less prone to severe Covid: ICMR-RMRC study

The positivity rate among those aged over 18 years (13.8 per cent) was relatively higher than those aged 0-17 years (11.6 per cent) and comparable with the overall positivity.

Published: 08th November 2021 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th November 2021 08:28 AM   |  A+A-

School children, school bag

The scientists analysed a total of 5,53,763 RT-PCR test results for the study. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Children and adolescents have a significantly lower risk of developing severe Covid despite being prone to be infected by coronavirus, a Statewide study of samples by the ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar, has revealed.

The scientists analysed a total of 5,53,763 RT-PCR test results for the study. Among the samples tested, 75,190 (13.6 per cent) were found positive, of which 69,202 (92 per cent) were from individuals aged 18 years and above while 5,988 (8 per cent) cases belonged to aged 0-17 years. 

The positivity rate among those aged over 18 years (13.8 per cent) was relatively higher than those aged 0-17 years (11.6 per cent) and comparable with the overall positivity. Among children, the positivity rate was highest (12.96 per cent) in the 6-9 year age group and lowest (9.07 per cent) among the 0-5 year age group. 

“Though the virus affected children of all ages, they rarely developed any severe or critical illness. We found the positivity rate among children was less than adults during the last two waves,” said an ICMR scientist. 

The case fatality rates in Odisha in the 0-17 year age group were 0.05 per cent and 0.03 per cent in the first and second waves respectively and the CFR was much lower during the second wave than the overall rate of 0.75 per cent. 

Only four, 11 and eight children succumbed to Covid-19 in the age groups of 0-6, 7-14 and 15-18 years, respectively this year, whereas the number of deaths was three, six and four in the same age groups in 2020.

Based on sero-surveillance reports conducted by the ICMR in June this year, Covid-19 infection in children over 10 years of age occurs in a similar frequency to that of adults. Sero-prevalence in the 10-17 year age group and above 18 year increased from 27.8 per cent to 61.8 per cent and from 25.8 per cent to 69.69 per cent respectively in the third (December 2020-January 2021) and fourth (June-July 2021) sero-survey.

“Fear of mutations causing more severe cases in children has no solid scientific evidence to date. Even without vaccination, due to the high prevalence of seropositivity, children might incur natural immunity in preventing future infection or complications of Covid,” the scientist added.



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