India

Two-thirds of Indians have coronavirus antibodies, survey shows

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A woman rides a scooter through a crowded market on a rainy day amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India, July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

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July 20 (Reuters) - Two-thirds of India's population have antibodies against the coronavirus, according to data released on Tuesday from a survey of 29,000 people across the nation conducted in June and July.

The fourth national blood serum survey which tests for antibodies, known as a sero survey, included 8,691 children aged 6-17 years for the first time. Half of them were seropositive.

The survey showed 67.6% of adults were seropositive, while more than 62% of adults were unvaccinated. As of July, just over 8% of eligible adult Indians had received two vaccine doses.

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About 400 million of India's 1.4 billion people did not have antibodies, the survey showed.

India's daily cases have fallen to four-month lows after a second-wave that crippled the healthcare system. But experts have warned the authorities against swiftly reopening cities and voiced concerns about overcrowding at tourist sites.

"The second wave is still persisting. The danger of new outbreaks is very much there," Vinod Kumar Paul, a top government adviser, told a news conference.

"One out of three, wherever you are, ... is still vulnerable and therefore the pandemic is no way over," he said.

The study also surveyed 7,252 healthcare workers and found 85% had antibodies, with one in 10 unvaccinated.

Last month, data showed at least half of under-18s in India's financial capital of Mumbai were exposed to COVID-19 and had antibodies against it. read more

Some experts have said a third wave could hit children. Mumbai has joined other cities in building huge paediatric wards in preparation.

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Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Neha Arora in New Delhi; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Edmund Blair

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