Covid-19 infected children have better prognosis than adults: Lancet study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 29, 2020

Covid-19 infected children in 26 countries demonstrated positive clinical developments compared to adults, according to an analysis that examined research published during the first four months of the coronavirus.

Scientists, including those from The University of Texas in the US, performed the largest systematic review to date of children and young adults with Covid-19, assessing the clinical data of more than 7,500 individuals, as per media reports.

The analysis was published in the journal EClinicalMedicine, a journal of The Lancet. The review said that nearly a fifth of the pediatric population with Covid-19 did not exhibit any symptoms, and 21 per cent of the children exhibited patchy marks of tissue injury on lung X-rays.

The researchers said 5.6 per cent of the children assessed in the studies suffered from co-infections, such as flu, on top of Covid-19, and a little more than 3 per cent were admitted to intensive care units. Only seven deaths were reported, according to the review research.

“Our data is compiled from 131 studies and encompasses 7,780 patients who span the pediatric age spectrum,” said study senior author Alvaro Moreira from UT quoted in the PTI report.

The research reported the most common symptoms, quantified laboratory findings, and described X-ray scan characteristics of children with Covid-19.

“Furthermore, we summarise treatments that were administered and offer an initial glimpse of a handful of patients who met the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children,” Moreira said.

According to the study, the most common symptoms, similar to the adult population, were fever and cough -- found in 59 and 56 per cent of the pediatric population, respectively.

In 233 individuals, the scientists 152 children had co-morbidities in the group which showed the compromised immune systems or had underlying respiratory or cardiac disease.

“Although we are hearing about severe forms of the disease in children, this is occurring in very rare circumstances,” Moreira said.

Based on laboratory measures noted in the reviewed studies, the scientists said pediatric Covid-19 patients had abnormal levels of molecules signifying inflammation in the body like creatine kinase, interleukin-6, and procalcitonin.

Covid-positive children who didn’t have the extreme form of the disease had 42 per cent of the immune cells called lymphocytes in their blood, versus 11 per cent in children with the multisystem syndrome, he added.

The scientists said kidney failure was seen in nine pediatric patients, liver failure also in nine, and shock in 19.

They informed that ventilation was needed in 42 cases. While the review research provides evidence that children with Covid-19 have an overall better prognosis.

The research team mentioned that studies are needed to confirm the findings, and “better understand which patients are at increased risk for developing severe inflammation and multiorgan failure.”


Published on June 29, 2020

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