Updated: January 15, 2022 7:16:53 am
A new ICMR study has said that majority of paediatric cases across the country during the second wave had Delta variant, indicating it to be a predominant strain. Holding SARS-CoV-2 variant responsible for infection in the paediatric population, the study highlights the importance of genomic surveillance in children.
According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientists, the purpose of the study was to check if there was any new variant or mutation of the variant among the paediatric population. Samples of 583 Covid-affected children were studied between March and June 2021, according to the study findings of which were recently uploaded on medRxiv.
In India, the first paediatric case infected with Alpha strain was reported in November 2020. Further, an increase in the number of cases was observed with Alpha and Delta variants.
Results of the genomic sequencing of samples from 583 Covid-affected children collected between March and June 2021 showed that the most common lineages found among them were Delta followed by Kappa, Alpha and others.
Of the 512 sequences, 372 were variants of concern and 51 were variants of interest. Delta, Kappa, Alpha and B.1.36 constituted 65.82 per cent, 9.96 per cent, 6.83 per cent and 4.68 per cent respectively of the cases in the study population, researchers said.
The fourth sero-survey carried out in the first half of 2021 showed that about 50 per cent of surveyed children had antibodies against SARS-CoV2 virus. While the Delta variant had led to major casualties and widespread infection between March and May 2021, there was limited information about the nature of strains infecting the paediatric group during this period.
More than half of the patients (51.8 per cent) belonged to the age group of 13-19 years while 41.2 per cent of cases were found among children between 3 and 12 years of age. The rest, 7 per cent, of cases were detected in children under three, according to the study.
Symptoms were reported among 37.2 per cent of patients while 14.8 per cent of cases were reported to be hospitalised, the study added. “Symptom profile was available for only 74 Covid patients, with fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat being the most common symptoms noted in 60 per cent, 49.3 per cent, 23.4 per cent and 12 per cent of the children, respectively. The rest of the symptoms were seen in less than 10 per cent of the patients,” the study added.
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