June 13, 2021 3:58:07 am
IN a week’s time the PGI will initiate a unique sero survey, which will be done on children between 2 and 18 years of age, and according to Prof Jagat Ram, the director of the institute, the sero survey will be focused exclusively on the paediatric age group, and will be a unique survey, perhaps the first in the country.
The sample size of the survey will be around 2,500, and include children from urban, rural and slum areas of Chandigarh, with the logistics, ethical clearance and planning for the survey already underway.
The Chandigarh Administration had asked PGI and GMCH to conduct a sero survey in UT, and as GMCH is doing one on adults, the PGI has decided to conduct the sero survey on children.
“The survey in these diverse areas will give us an idea about how many children have been infected. As children have not been vaccinated, the only way they could have developed antibodies is by getting infected. The results of the antibody formation will give us a rough estimate and idea on how many children can be involved in the third wave and hopefully we can estimate the magnitude of the third wave. The Government of India and ICMR are also keen on doing a sero survey involving children across the country and the Department of Virology of PGIMER will be responsible for this survey, the results of which should be out within a month,” Prof Ram said.
While children were infected in both the waves, the second wave involved all age groups, though COVID-19 infection in children was mild, and the mortality low.
Prof Ram maintains that the third wave may also not affect children severely, though the institute is prepared with oxygen beds, ICU facilities, ventilators and trained manpower to tackle any emergency.
“Children with co-morbidities, like adults, are more susceptible to infection. As we have seen, the double and triple mutants have been fast spreading and virulent, involving the lungs. We must not forget that mutation is a continuous process and more strains will emerge, and the only way to fight the virus and check the spread of infection is by following Covid-appropriate behaviour and getting vaccinated. We will have to keep our masks on for at least a year, for even for the second wave to completely hit the lowest point, it will take another two months. So we cannot be callous about our behaviour and have to be cautious and responsible,” summed up Prof Ram.
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