The corona pandemic has long focused on obvious risk groups such as the elderly and previously sick. But now more and more scientists are calling for a thorough study of the process of infection in children and adolescents. Because it could be of immense importance to the entire population.
It still seems that children and adolescents, with a few exceptions, have been spared the coronavirus. But young people are apparently becoming increasingly important as the pandemic progresses. This picture comes from several studies.
For example, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) concludes that adolescents play an important role in the spread of the corona. In a new study, researchers calculated the incidences in these age groups using the 277,285 confirmed cases in children and adolescents in the United States from March to September. As a result, adolescents contracted Covid-19 twice as often as children: There were 37.4 cases per 100,000 among 12 to 17-year-olds. In children ages 5-11, there were 19 cases per 100,000.
Of the children and adolescents who had to be treated as inpatients, 16 percent had at least one underlying disease. For those treated in the intensive care unit, it was 27 percent and for deaths 28 percent. A total of 51 deaths were recorded, less than 0.1%, with people of Latin American descent and blacks particularly affected. The analysis relates to when most schools in the country closed.
British scientists had already come to a similar conclusion in an extensive study. They found that children are less likely to be infected than adults in the same household. Russell M. Viner from the Great Ormond Street Institute for Child Health in London therefore sees clear evidence that children up to around 14 years of age are significantly less susceptible to infections. Accordingly, young people have about the same risk of infection as adults. Since the study was presented in August, the data collected worldwide have also been influenced by school closings. Drosten
Deceptive immune experiment
However, there is still great uncertainty about the degree of participation of children and adolescents in the spread of Sars-CoV-2. Swiss studies have confirmed that children have viable viruses in their nasal mucus so they are almost certainly infectious too. Even if they are only slightly ill themselves, they must be taken into account as carriers of the infection, conclude the researchers who work with Arnaud G. L’Huillier from the CHU de Genève.
In the latest NDR podcast “Coronavirus Update”, virologist Christian Drosten particularly highlights the risk that children could infect their parents in the event of uncontrolled epidemics in schools. Among these middle-aged adults there are high-risk patients who can end up in hospitals and intensive care units in the event of illness. “We must and can avoid this if we keep a transparent eye on the school situation,” emphasizes Drosten. Like many of his international colleagues, he is therefore asking for more data on the role of children in the infection process.
Drosten also suggested why the children don’t get so seriously ill. As a result, older people rely on immune experiences they had with previous pathogens to fight the coronavirus. However, these answers are not always correct, “and the disease can cause serious problems”. The so-called immune memory is less strong in these cases. On the flip side, young people are now building this memory when dealing with Sars-CoV-2, which is why their immune response is more focused.
45seconds is a new medium. Do not hesitate to publish our article on social networks to give us a solid boost. 🙂