Research has found that children have protection from severe COVID-19 due to the fact their innate immune system is swift in attacking the virus. The research found that specialized cells in a child’s immune system quickly target the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. There is less likelihood of children becoming infected with the virus and as many as a third of children are asymptomatic, which is noticeably unlike the higher severity and prevalence seen for the majority of other respiratory viruses in children.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Blood samples were analyzed from 70 adults and 48 children either infected with, or exposed to, SARS-CoV-2. The researchers monitored Immune responses throughout the acute stage of infection and up to 2 months after the infection.
Two mothers participated in the study together with their 2 daughters after they all tested COVID-19 positive. Both of the daughters, aged 6 and 2, had only a mild runny nose but the mothers had severe fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, and loss of sense of taste and appetite. It took both of the mothers at least two weeks to fully recover. The research indicates that COVID-19 infected children have a hardier innate immune response to the virus in comparison to what adults have.
COVID-19 infection in children was characterized by neutrophil activation, the specialized white blood cells that help in healing tissues that are damaged and in resolving infections, as well as a reduction in the blood of first-responder immune cells like dendritic cells, monocytes and natural killer cells. This would suggest that these immune cells that fight infections are migrating to sites of infection, swiftly clearing the virus before it’s had an opportunity to really take hold.
This demonstrates that the innate immune system, which is our 1st line of defense against germs, is vital in preventing severe COVID-19 disease in children. This immune reaction was evidently not replicated in the adult study participants.
The adults and children who had been exposed to and tested negative for COVID-19 also had altered immune responses. Adults and children alike had increased numbers of neutrophil, out to 7 weeks following virus exposure, which could have given a level of disease protection.
The research confirms previous research that found 3 children developed a comparable immune response after being exposed to COVID-19 from their parents.
The researchers explained even though they had been infected with COVID-19, the children were able to build up an immune response that was extremely effective in preventing the virus from replicating; which meant that a positive test was never returned.
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