Three groups were compared: children younger than age five, children between ages five and 17 years and adults from ages 18 to 65. Despite the most recent updates about how the coronavirus could potentially be linked to a pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, the understanding was that COVID-19 (the respiratory illness caused by the virus) is generally milder in children and that there was no evidence children were more susceptible to the virus.
The team believes that the study findings are significant, especially during discussions on the safety of reopening schools and daycare.
Overall, though, children have largely been spared the most severe consequences of COVID-19.
Indeed, "you can have somebody who has high viral load in the nose, but that doesn't mean necessarily that they're going to spread more than somebody who has a little less", said Dr. Rick Malley, a senior physician in pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at Boston Children's Hospital. Further studies are needed to look at the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 in children. But that study involved only 34 households with multiple coronavirus infections, and 73% of transmission in those households was from adult to child.
The researchers found that young children had average viral loads 10 to 100 times greater than adults. While the results can not speak to children's ability to transmit the disease to others, they come at a time when schools nationwide weighing the risks of opening again in the fall. "That's the key thing - we're still not seeing outbreaks being driven by children to the extent they are driven by older individuals, and that's despite the fact that they have the virus in their nose". This was also independent of the severity and overall course of the acute illness, and time from the original diagnosis.
It has actually likewise formerly been revealed that children with high viral loads of the breathing syncytial infection ... In addition, they excluded people with asymptomatic infections, those who couldn't pinpoint when their symptoms had started, and people who had experienced symptoms for more than a week before testing. "We need to take that into account in efforts to reduce transmission as we continue to learn more about this virus", Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago", said. The study, which did not directly compare itolizumab to a placebo or other treatments, has not yet been peer-reviewed. In Germany, 47 children between one and 11 were found to have viral loads as high as those in adults.
Heald-Sargent says it's likely the same could be true with COVID-19.
Children under five years of age may harbor up to 100 times as much of the coronavirus in their noses and throats as infected adults and older children, according to a study out of Chicago.
Importantly, the researchers noted that their findings were limited to detection of viral nucleic acid and not infectious virus.