Children may lack Covid-19 symptoms, but could be silent carriers of the virus: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 21, 2020

Since the ACE2 expression in nasopharynx increases with age, children don’t develop severe cases of Covid-19

According to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatric on Thursday, children may report milder symptoms or may even lack symptoms of Covid-19, but could be silent carriers of the virus.

The authors of the research said that the manner in which children contribute to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is still unclear.

They stated that children are less likely to become seriously ill from SARS-CoV-2. However, children can be highly contagious and can carry the virus into their households.

Children infected with SARS-CoV-2 tend to have milder symptoms with significantly lower mortality than in adults.

It has been hypothesised that children do not tend to develop severe cases of Covid-19 because the ACE2 expression in the nasopharynx increases with age, the researchers noted.

However, ACE2 expression has not been studied in the upper airways of children infected with SARS-CoV-2.

The authors stated: “Understanding infectious burden and potential for transmissibility within the pediatric population is critical for developing both short- and long-term responses, including public health policies, to the current pandemic.”

Although an acute SARS-CoV-2 infection tends to be mild or symptom-free in most pediatric cases, some children develop a multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).

Children may also develop possible SARS-CoV-2 infection or exposure, with severe cardiac complications, including hypotension, shock, and acute heart failure after several weeks of infection.

Understanding post-infectious immune responses in pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially MIS-C, is critical for designing treatment and prevention strategies among children, the researchers added.

The study was conducted by doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the United States. The study was carried out on 192 children. The mean age of the children was 10.2 years.

Published on August 21, 2020

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