What Protects Children From Severe COVID-19? Here’s What Researchers Found

Protect Children From Severe COVID-19

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Differences in the body immune systems and much better capillary health were amongst the aspects securing kids from serious COVID-19, according to a brand-new evaluation. Credit: Thiago Cerqueira

Differences in the body immune systems and much better capillary health were amongst the aspects securing kids from serious COVID-19, according to a brand-new evaluation.

A substantial body of international COVID-19 literature was evaluated by specialists at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), the University of Melbourne and the University of Fribourg and released in the Archives of Disease in Childhood to decipher the factors for age-related distinctions in COVID-19 seriousness and signs. 

MCRI and University of Melbourne Professor Nigel Curtis stated that while a variety of hypotheses offered possible descriptions regarding why grownups were at greater threat and kids secured from serious illness and death from COVID-19, the majority of do not describe why COVID-19 seriousness increases steeply after the age of 60–70 years. 

Professor Curtis stated in plain contrast to other breathing infections, serious illness and death due to COVID-19 was fairly uncommon in kids.

“Most children with COVID-19 have no or only mild symptoms, most commonly fever, cough, sore throat and changes in sense of smell or taste,” he stated. “Even children with the usual risk factors for severe infections, such as immunosuppression, were not at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

Professor Curtis stated damage to the thin layer of endothelial cells lining numerous organs, specifically the capillary, heart, and lymphatic vessels, increased with age and there was an association in between conditions that impact these cells and serious COVID-19.  

“We know pre-existing blood vessel damage plays an important role in COVID-19 severity and can lead to blood clots, causing strokes and heart attacks. COVID-19 can infect these endothelial cells and cause blood vessel inflammation,” he stated.

“The endothelium in children has experienced far less damage compared with adults and their clotting system is also different, which makes children less prone to abnormal blood clotting.” 

Professor Curtis stated illness connected with persistent swelling that establish with sophisticated age consisting of diabetes and weight problems were likewise related to serious COVID-19. 

He stated more current immunization with live vaccines, such as the MMR vaccine versus measles, mumps, and rubella, that might enhance the body immune system may contribute in securing kids.

Dr. Petra Zimmermann from the University of Fribourg stated there were likewise other essential distinctions in the body immune system in between kids and grownups.

“Children have a stronger innate immune response, which is the first-line defense against COVID-19,” she stated.

“Another essential element is ‘trained immunity’ which primes inherent immune cells after moderate infections and vaccinations, causing a kind of ‘innate immune memory.’

“Children infected with COVID-19 often have co-infections with other viruses. Recurrent viral infections could lead to improved trained immunity, making kids more effective at clearing COVID-19.”

Dr. Zimmermann stated various levels of microbiota (germs and other bacteria) in the throat, nose, lung, and stomach, likewise affected vulnerability to COVID-19.

“The microbiota plays an important role in the regulation of immunity, inflammation, and in the defense against illnesses,” she stated. “Children are more likely to have viruses and bacteria, especially in the nose, where these bugs might limit the growth of COVID-19.” 

Dr. Zimmermann stated the vitamin D level, with its anti-inflammatory residential or commercial properties, was likewise typically greater in kids.

“The overlap between risk factors for severe COVID-19 and vitamin D deficiency, including obesity, chronic kidney disease and being of black or Asian origin, suggests that vitamin D supplementation may play a role in helping prevent or treat COVID-19,” she stated.

“In many countries, vitamin D is routinely supplemented in infants younger than one year of age and in some countries even up to the age of three years.”  

Professor Curtis stated comprehending the underlying age-related distinctions in the seriousness of COVID-19 would supply essential insights and chances for avoidance and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

MCRI COVID-19 continuous research study task highlights:

  • BRACE trial evaluating the BCG vaccine to see if it trains the ‘innate’ body immune system of frontline health care employees to lower the seriousness of COVID-19. Australian recruitment has actually been finished, the group is now hiring in the UK, Netherlands, Spain and Brazil.
  • COVID Immune research study examining COVID-19 impacts on kids’s body immune systems. Studying whether some kids are more susceptible to COVID-19 due to distinctions in their body immune system and the length of time resistance lasts.
  • Age-particular blood clot research study examining the biological aspects underlying viral interaction with the clotting system and the distinctions in between grownups and kids. Study might assist recognize drug targets that relieve the development of illness in grownups versus kids.
  • Multiple research studies taking a look at distinctions in kids’s and their moms and dads’ body immune systems when a relative is contaminated with COVID-19. The underlying distinctions in between kids’s and grownups’ immune reactions to the infection are yet to be figured out.

Reference: “Why is COVID-19 less severe in children? A review of the proposed mechanisms underlying the age-related difference in severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections” by Petra Zimmermann and Nigel Curtis, 1 December 2020, Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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