Children under 5 Carry Higher Levels of COVID-19

A new study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, suggests that children younger than 5 years may have 10 to 100 times greater levels of genetic materials of the coronavirus than older children and adults.Children under 5 Carry Higher Levels of COVID-19

A team of researchers, led by Taylor Heald-Sargent of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, carried out nasal swab tests on 145 patients from Chicago with mild to moderate illness within one week of symptom onset.

These 145 patients included 46 children younger than 5 years old, 51 children from 5 to 17, and 48 adults from 18 to 65 years. The analysis of the received material showed a 10-fold to 100-fold greater amount of SARS-CoV-2 in the upper respiratory tract of the youngest group.

The authors of the paper conclude: “Thus, young children can potentially be important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the general population. Behavioral habits of young children and close quarters in school and daycare settings raise concern for SARS-CoV-2 amplification in this population as public health restrictions are eased.”

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