Children and adolescents between 5 and 17 years old who develop covid tend to improve after six days and the number of minors who experience symptoms beyond four weeks is low: 77 out of a total of 1,734 infected, which represents 4 , 4%, according to a study developed in the United Kingdom and published in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health the early morning of this Wednesday. The key to this good behavior is that the youngest have a newly formed immune system.
The reports compiled for the investigation, with data from 250,000 children, reflect that 1,734 developed covid symptoms and tested positive in PCR tests. Most of them were ill for a little less than a week and experienced an average of three symptoms in the first days of covid, confirming that it tends to manifest itself as a mild illness in children and that youngsters, in general, get sick. quickly overlap. The vast majority show no symptoms at four weeks and a minority (4.4%) showed two or three manifestations of the disease after one month, according to the study.
These manifestations, after four weeks, were fatigue (84%), headache and loss of smell (77.9%). Of all, the headache was the most common symptom and was detected from the beginning of the infection. However, the most persistent was the loss of smell. Only 1.8% of those infected experienced symptoms for more than eight weeks.
The study was carried out using data collected through a mobile phone application by parents and caregivers between September 1, 2020 and February 22, 2021. Based on the data obtained, Emma Duncan, lead author The study and researcher at King’s College London said: “It is reassuring that the number of children who experience long-lasting symptoms is low. However, a small number of children experience a long illness ”.
The vast majority of children infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus do not develop symptoms and those who do tend to have a mild illness
In adults, where more cases of this long-lasting disease have been detected (there are estimates that up to 20% of those infected), symptoms persist for four weeks or more. In contrast, the vast majority of children infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus do not develop symptoms and those who do tend to have a mild illness.
Jesús Rodríguez Baño, researcher, professor of Medicine at the University of Seville and head of the Infectious Diseases service at the Virgen Macarena University Hospital, considers that the reason for this good behavior among minors can be found in the innate response of the immune system. With this defense system it is born and allows to protect the body from infections. It is the body’s first line of response to a pathogen. The researcher at the Seville Institute of Biomedicine (IBiS) and a member of the Spanish Network for Research in Infectious Pathology (REIPI) explains: “It is possible that in the case of children the response is more effective and faster. This is very important to avoid the initial viral replication ”.
From this first line of defense, acquired immunity is generated, which implies the generation of memory lymphocytes capable of re-detecting the infection over time and reactivating the protection mechanisms. “This acquired immunity is also key; it is the one that generates the vaccine. The innate is very important at the beginning, but the acquired is the one that finishes the job ”, Rodríguez Baño simplifies to explain the process. In the elderly, however, there is an effect called immunosenescence, the progressive deterioration of the system with age.
This advantage of the newly released immune system explains why, according to the British study, older children are the ones who are sick the longest. According to the research, Secondary students (12 to 17 years old) suffer from the disease for about seven days, while their Primary schoolmates (5 to 11 years old) are cured in just five days.
Older children are sick longer. Secondary students (12 to 17 years old) suffer from the disease for about seven days, while their Primary schoolmates (five to 11 years old) are cured in just five days
Similarly, the oldest minors (51% of Secondary students) were also more likely to have symptoms after four weeks than the youngest children (3.1%), although both groups reflect a total majority recovery before eight weeks.
Another explanation for the effective response of minors to covid is reflected in an investigation published in Nature immunology last November 5 on 32 adults and 47 children under 18 years of age. This study shows how children produce antibodies specifically directed to the proteins of the coronavirus spicules, which allow infection and viral replication.
In addition, the presence of fewer ACE2 receptors, a fundamental human protein for coronavirus infection, has been detected among children. A job published in Science Already in May 2020 it reflects how the spike of the pathogen uses ACE2 to fit into the human cell and introduce its genetic material.
Researchers from the British study also highlight the importance of taking into account the confluence of other diseases with covid. In this sense, Michael Absoud, also lead author of the study of The Lancet and researcher at King’s College London, says: “Our data highlight that other illnesses, such as colds and flu, can also have long-term symptoms in children and it is important to keep this in mind when planning pediatric health services during the pandemic. and beyond. This will be particularly important given that the prevalence of these diseases is likely to increase as the physical distancing measures implemented to prevent the spread of covid are relaxed. “
The results of the British study on the greater ability of minors to defend themselves against the pandemic and show mild symptoms were also reflected in the study Kids Corona of the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital in Barcelona on 411 families with a total of 724 children with at least one parent with covid. This work showed that more than 99% of the minors did not show symptoms or these were not very relevant. While 33.8% of the adults in this study had a viral load in the nasopharynx one month later; this circumstance only occurred in 11.9% of the children.