COVID-19 in children: A new study has surfaced that has suggested that if children are infected by the novel Coronavirus, they may have the potential to transmit the virus despite having a measurable immune response. News agency PTI, in a report citing the study, highlighted that children can have both COVID-19 antibodies as well as the virus simultaneously in their bodies. As per the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, 215 patients going under antibody testing at the Children’s National Hospital in the United States along with other 6,369 Coronavirus positive children from March 13 to June 21 were analysed. Among these, there were some cases that showed the presence of both antibodies and the virus.
Burak Bahar, lead author of the study, said that whenever there is a viral infection, antibodies are formed and found in the human bodies after recovery and the virus is not detected. But with Coronavirus infection, researchers were able to find the presence of the virus as well. After this was clear, the report said that the transmission of this virus was analysed. It is to note that while antibodies with immunity were detected in the children’s bodies, it is still unclear as to how long the antibodies will last.
Further, it was noted that with the onset of infection till viral clearance along with immunologic response, the viral content was not detected after 25 days. Apart from this, the presence of antibodies in the blood (also known as seropositivity) could be seen in 18 days but it still requires 36 days to reach adequate levels of neutralising antibodies, which according to the report is crucial as it helps the person not to get reinfected because of the same virus. The study also pointed out that those below the 15 years of age needed a longer duration of recovery when compared to those in 16 years- 22 years of age group. Also, the recovery duration was found higher in younger girls compared to young boys.
Notably, the pool of children used for study analysis is still small for the complete pediatric population. Therefore, it is advisable by Bahar that children exposed to COVID-19 should let their guard down even after the formation of antibodies and the disappearance of symptoms. As the time is crucial and there is still a risk for transmission, social distancing and hygienic practises should be followed.