Thursday, 06 August, 2020


COVID-19: Kids' Noses May Carry More Virus Than Adults'

Study detects heart damage in majority of recovered COVID-19 patients Can COVID-19 Affect The Heart? Yes, Say Two Studies - ODISHA BYTES
Patty Aguilar | 01 August, 2020, 19:12

According to the researchers, this study suggests that the behavioural habits of young children, as well as the close proximity in schools and daycare centres, may raise concern about the virus spreading. A new study finds they may carry 10 to 100 times more coronavirus compared to adults.

The study conducted between March 23 and April 27, 2020 on replication of SARS-CoV-2 in older children found similar levels of viral nucleic acid as adults, but significantly greater amounts of viral nucleic acid among those younger than 5 years.

Young children with mild or moderate COVID-19 may have the same or higher amounts of virus in their upper respiratory tracts as older children and adults, a study published Thursday by JAMA Pediatrics found.

Heald-Sargent and her team analyzed 145 swab samples collected from patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 within a week of symptom onset; 46 of them were from children under 5, 51 were from 5- to 17-year-olds, and 48 were from adults between 18 and 65. "So far this transmission doesn't seem to be primarily coming from children", said Heald-Sargent.

"The school situation is so complicated - there are many nuances beyond just the scientific one", lead study author Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, told the New York Times.

"There is evidence now that the virus can directly attack heart muscle cells, and there's also evidence that the cytokine storm that the virus triggers in the body not only damages the lungs, but can damage the heart", says Swartzberg, who did not work on either of these new studies.

The authors added that a recent lab study had demonstrated that the more viral genetic material was present, the more infectious virus could be grown.

"Kids certainly have virus and are replicating virus in their nose as efficiently, if not more efficiently, than adults", Heald-Sargent said.

"The ability of younger children to spread COVID-19 may have been under-recognized given the rapid and sustained closure of schools and daycare during the pandemic", the team said in the release. The viral load test results did not distinguish between infectious virus particles and non-infectious genetic material from the virus, so it is not clear whether the younger children are more likely to spread the virus.

At a societal level, she said it will also be important to implement infection control practices such as contact tracing, and take steps at school, such as keeping children within the same small groups, to limit the spread. While the results can not speak to children's ability to transmit the disease to others, they come at a time when schools nationwide weighing the risks of opening again in the fall.

The researchers believe that in addition to public health implications, this young population will be important for targeting immunisation efforts as SARS-CoV-2 vaccines become available. "They also do not represent patients during acute COVID-19 infection or those who are completely asymptomatic with COVID-19".

Most notably, only 33 percent of the cohort studied required hospitalization during the course of their COVID-19 infection.

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