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Kids handle virus better, open primary schools first: ICMR | India News

NEW DELHI: Kids can handle viral infections much better than adults though the antibody exposure is similar in children as adults, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general Balram Bhargava said suggesting primary schools be opened before secondary schools.
However, the decision should be considered only after all the staff — teaching and non-teaching — are vaccinated and depending on the public health situation of any particular district, Bhargava said. “Children can handle viral infection better than adults. Moreover, it has been seen that young children have lower numbers of ACE2 receptors in their lung cells. However, the antibody exposure we have seen in this sero survey among children is very similar to adults.”
“Some countries, especially Scandinavian countries, did not shut down primary schools at all. So once India starts considering, it is wise to open primary schools first and then secondary, and that too when all staff including teachers, drivers etc are fully vaccinated,” Bhargava said. According to the findings of the fourth national sero survey, over half the kids of 6-17 years showing presence of antibodies. The sero-positivity was 57.2% in the 6-9 years age group, whereas 61.6% in the 10-17 years age groups showed presence of antibodies. On the other hand, the overall prevalence of 67.6% with 66.7% showing presence of antibodies in the age group of 18-44 years and over 75% in the higher age brackets. Highlighting that the situation may differ from state to state, officials said the decision to start schools need to be taken at the district level depending on their positivity rate, vaccination status and public health situation.

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