According to a study in Chicago, children under the age of five can have up to 100 times more coronavirus in their nose and throat than infected adults and older children.
“Our analysis shows that children under 5 years of age with mild to moderate COVID-19 have high levels of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in the nose and throat compared to older children and adults,” the researchers said in a JAMA Pediatrics report released on Thursday. research. .
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“Young children may be important factors in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the general population, as demonstrated by the use of airway syncytial virus, where children with high viral loads are more likely to transmit,”; they wrote.
The authors of the report said that although their findings did not show that children infected with COVID-19 were infectious, other pediatric studies found an association between higher levels of nucleic acids and the ability to cultivate the infectious virus.
The study was conducted from March 23 to April 27 and was led by Taylor Heald-Sargent of Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. One hundred and forty-five patients were divided into three groups according to their age. These groups consisted of: 48 adults aged 18 to 65 years, 51 children aged 5 to 17 years, and 46 children under 5 years of age.
The research team performed nasal swab tests on patients who developed mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 within a week. In the end, the researchers found that “young children have equivalent or more viral nucleic acids in the upper respiratory tract compared to older children and adults,” the study authors wrote.
The authors also stated in their report that differences between the substances found in the studies revealed “10 to 100 times higher levels of SARS-CoV-2 in the upper respiratory tract of young children.”
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The findings refute previous beliefs that children did not play a major role in coronavirus transmission. They said that “school closures during an early pandemic prevented wider school research as a source of community transmission.”
The results show the importance of understanding the transfer potential of children, especially when renovating schools.
“The behavior of young children in closed settings in schools and day care facilities raises concerns about the amplification of SARS-CoV-2 in this population as public health restrictions are relaxed,” they wrote. “In addition to having an impact on public health, this population will be important in targeting immunization when SARS-CoV-2 vaccines become available.”