Research Shows COVID’19 Symptoms Are Milder In Children

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Children wearing face masks cross a road during a Lunar New Year of the Rat public holiday in Hong Kong on January 27, 2020, as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

The coronavirus pandemic has caused much concern around the world, leading to travel restrictions, bans on any kind of public gatherings, holidays from work and schools, and even complete lockdown of many countries recently in Europe.

Health experts at the World Health Organization are encouraging governments of different countries around the world, specifically those located in Southeast Asia, to take drastic and bold preventive measures to stop the rising cases of coronavirus infection.

Regardless of the many restrictions, the number of cases of the coronavirus infection have been seen to increase day by day around the world. Currently, Italy has the highest number of cases after China, followed by countries in Asia.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the infection may also spread and affect a large portion of the population in the United States. In addition, France and the United Kingdom are also severely affected by the pandemic.

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In the midst of this public health crisis, there is ongoing research to develop a faster and better treatment for the infection as well as a vaccine. Clinical trials are also set to examine the different effects of the virus in people from different age groups.

The new study, whose findings appear in the journal Pediatrics, explores the impact of having coronavirus infection in children. In accordance with the findings of the study, children actually have less severe symptoms of the infections in comparison with adults.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers in the study examined the data from over seven hundred children from China who were confirmed to have coronavirus infection via lab testing.

In addition, data from over one thousand Chinese children who were suspected to have coronavirus symptoms were also assessed.

The researchers discovered that the majority of the cases of children with coronavirus infection or suspected cases had mild symptoms. Only around six percent of the affected children experienced severe symptoms.

On the other hand, 18.5 percent of the adult population who has been affected by coronavirus infection has been observed to have severe symptoms.

Although the researchers established the symptoms are less severe in children, the reason for this is unclear. The chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, Dr. Bonnie Maldonado, states that there can be multiple explanations for this.

Maldonado explains “It’s possible that the receptor for the virus may not be in the same configuration in children as adults. It’s possible that there were just more adults who were tested because that has been the focus. However, there have been other studies of pregnant women and children who did not have as severe symptoms.”

She also adds that “I suspect the immune response of children is different. “Their immune system is young and evolving.”

The authors of the new research explain that these findings are important for many reasons such as in understanding how the virus works and as evidence for its spread from person-to-person contact.

According to the researchers, the asymptomatic nature of the disease is what makes it spread faster. When the symptoms are visible, the coronavirus infection can be controlled but no symptoms or diagnosis means delayed treatment and potential spread of the virus.

Studies conducted prior to this new one also had similar findings. Therefore, the researchers hope to investigate further on this issue as soon as possible.

 

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