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Children Can Have COVID-19 Antibodies, Virus In Their System Simultaneously, States A Study

According to Dr Burak Bahar, lead author of the study on children and coronavirus, children have the potential to transmit the coronavirus even if antibodies are detected

Children Can Have COVID-19 Antibodies, Virus In Their System Simultaneously, States A Study
Highlights
  • Study used a retrospective analysis of 6,369 children tested for COVID-19
  • The study assessed the timing of viral clearance and immunologic response
  • Role of good hygiene and social distancing remains critical: Dr Bahar

Washington: Children’s National Hospital researchers, who set out to improve the understanding of how long it takes pediatric patients with the virus to clear it from their systems and at what point they start to make antibodies that work against the coronavirus, have found that the virus and antibodies can co-exist in young patients. The study has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

“With most viruses, when you start to detect antibodies, you won’t detect the virus anymore. But with COVID-19, we’re seeing both,” said Burak Bahar, M.D., lead author of the study and director of Laboratory Informatics at Children’s National.

Also Read: COVID-19 Antibodies Present In Patients Four Months After Recovery: Study

This means children still have the potential to transmit the virus even if antibodies are detected, added Dr Bahar.

She adds that the next phase of research will be to test if the virus that is present alongside the antibodies can be transmitted to other people. It also remains unknown if antibodies correlate with immunity, and how long antibodies and potential protection from reinfection last.

The study also assessed the timing of viral clearance and immunologic response. It found the median time from viral positivity to negativity, when the virus can no longer be detected, was 25 days.

The median time to seropositivity, or the presence of antibodies in the blood, was 18 days, while the median time to reach adequate levels of neutralizing antibodies was 36 days. Neutralizing antibodies are important in potentially protecting a person from re-infection of the same virus.

This study used a retrospective analysis of 6,369 children tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and 215 patients who underwent antibody testing at Children’s National between March 13, 2020, and June 21, 2020.

Also Read: Minimal SARS-CoV-2 Diversity Suggests Global Vaccine Is Feasible: Study

Out of the 215 patients, 33 had co-testing for both the virus and antibodies during their disease course. Nine of the 33 showed presence of antibodies in their blood while also later testing positive for the virus.

Also of note, researchers found patients 6 through 15 years old took a longer time to clear the virus (median of 32 days) compared to patients 16 through 22 years old (median of 18 days). Females in the 6-15 age group also took longer to clear the virus than males (median of 44 days for females compared to median of 25.5 days for males).

Also Read: Indian Scientists Find Higher Viral Load In Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients

Although there is emerging data regarding this timing in adults with COVID-19, there is far less data when it comes to the pediatric population. The findings being gathered by Children’s National researchers and scientists around the world are critical to helping understand the unique impact on children and their role in viral transmission.

The takeaway here is that we can’t let our guard down just because a child has antibodies or is no longer showing symptoms. The continued role of good hygiene and social distancing remains critical, said Dr Bahar.

Also Read: Opening Up Without Control Of COVID-19 Is “Recipe For Disaster”, Says WHO

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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