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Delta hit kids more in 2nd wave: ICMR study


NEW DELHI:  The Delta variant of the Covid virus was the predominant variant that largely hit Indian children during the second wave last summer, a study by the ICMR has established. The study, whose preprint has been released on medRxiv, analysed paediatric samples collected between March and June 2021 and highlighted the importance of genomic surveillance among paediatric Covid patients too.

The analysis has shown that out of 512 samples from kids that were subjected to whole genome sequencing, 372 were variants of concern and 51 were variants of interest. Importantly, the most common lineages observed were Delta, followed by Kappa, Alpha and B.1.36, seen in 65.82%, 9.96%, 6.83% and 4.68%, respectively, in the study population.

“Overall, it was observed that Delta was the leading cause of SARS CoV-2 infection in Indian children during the second wave,” the researchers noted. “We emphasise on the need of continuous genomic surveillance in SARS-CoV-2 infection even amongst children.” Among the kids studied, more than half of the 145 samples were from males and the median age was 13 years. Actually, 51.8% belonged to the 13-19 age group, 41.2% to 3-12 years and the rest 7% less than 3 years.

Symptoms were reported among 37.2% of patients. Symptom profile was available for only 74 patients, with fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat being the most common noted in 60%, 49.3%, 23.4% and 12% of the kids, respectively. The fourth serosurvey showed more than 50% children in the 6-17 group were seropositive.