A STUDY of paediatric COVID-19 patients has found that children have a higher viral load than hospitalised adults and may contribute to the spread of COVID-19 more than previously thought.
According to medicalnewstoday.com, scientists from Massachusets General Hospital in Boston, United States of America, had assessed the nature of the disease in children, evaluating viral burden, susceptibility to disease, and immune response in 192 patients seen at the hospital.
The study is the most comprehensive research of COVID-19 paediatric patients to date, and it appears in the Journal of Paediatrics.
The study involved 192 people from babies to people 22 years of age, with an average age of 10. Of these, roughly a quarter had received a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.
The scientists noted that tests from airway samples showed that paediatric patients had a significantly higher viral load than hospitalised adults with severe COVID-19.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Lael Yonker, said, “I was not expecting the viral load to be so high. You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalised patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load.”
Also, of the children with confirmed COVID-19 cases only half presented with fever, suggesting that doctors may miss some diagnoses in younger patients.
The senior author of the study, Dr. Alessio Fasano, said kids are not immune from this infection.