6.4 million Indians were exposed to coronavirus by early May, shows ICMR’s survey

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New Delhi (NVI): Around 6.4 million infections of coronavirus were estimated in India by the early May, the first national sero-survey conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revealed.

The survey, published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, was carried out between May 11 and June 4. The exercise had covered 28,000 individuals whose blood samples were tested for IgG antibodies.

However, the survey results indicated that 0.73 per cent of the adult population was exposed to coronavirus by mid-May this year.

“The low prevalence observed in most districts indicates that India is in the early phase of the epidemic and the majority of the Indian population is still susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” ICMR said.

Moreover, the seropositivity was found to be highest in the age-group of 18-45 years (43.3 per cent), followed by those between 46-60 years (39.5 per cent). The lowest seropositivity was detected in those aged above 60 (17.2 per cent).

The sero-prevalence ranged between 0.62 and 1.03 per cent across the four strata of districts from which data was collected, it said.

A total of 30,283 households were visited from 700 clusters in 70 districts across the four strata including zero cases- 15 districts, low cases- 22 districts, medium cases – 16, high cases 17 districts, for the sero survey conducted by the ICMR.

“The present findings of seropositivity in the strata of districts with zero to a low incidence of COVID-19 cases underscore the need to strengthen surveillance and augment the testing of suspected cases in these areas,” it added.

Furthermore, the survey also said that about one-fourth (25.9 per cent) of the surveyed clusters were from urban areas.