Since the early days of the pandemic, research has identified different at-risk groups for the coronavirus infection. Similarly, people who are more likely to spread the virus have also been studied. Among these, children are said to be more likely to transmit the infection to others. However, new evidence may contradict this claim.
A report recently published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology shows that children are fifty percent less likely to contract the infection in comparison with adults, which also lowers the chances of them spreading the virus further.
Prior to this study, previous research has also shown that symptoms of coronavirus infection are milder in children. Furthermore, the total number of cases in kids is far less than adults.
In the US, children account for less than ten percent of the total number of infections. Why is this so? According to scientists, there are multiple factors that make kids less susceptible to the infection.
For instance, a major portion of the adult population in the US has underlying medical issues. This includes autoimmune conditions and chronic diseases. In comparison, children mostly do not have such health problems.
Additionally, they are already immune to many of the viruses including coronaviruses. Their under-developed sinuses and overall good health also give them a benefit over several infections.
The new research, which is based on an Israeli model, provides further insight into the matter. It investigates transmission levels of the virus in over six hundred participants from Bnei Brak in Israel.
All of the participants in the study underwent testing for the infection. Then, the researchers compared results with transmission levels of the virus.
It was found that children are not only forty-three percent less likely to have the infection but also do not spread it as often.
These findings can add to the ongoing investigation on coronavirus spread among the global population. Secondly, it can also help in understanding how the virus is deadlier in certain cases only.
Another major finding of the research was also that children are less likely to test positive using PCR testing. PCR tests use genetic material of the virus for diagnosis. In children, it is far harder to detect it even if they have the infection.
This can be part of the reason why diagnosis in children is low. PCR tests are the standard diagnosis methods used in the majority of the countries. They are also more accurate in comparison with other diagnostic tests for the virus.
This does not mean that children have lower rates of the infection simply because it is not detected but at the same time it is an important factor and should be considered when studying further on the severity and prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in children.
Furthermore, the comparatively lower rates of infection also does not mean that children are safe and should not take preventive measures when heading out in public.
Like adults, kids also need to protect themselves by wearing a mask and keeping a distance while being in school or other places.