Youngsters can have COVID-19 antibodies and virus of their system concurrently

Children can have COVID-19 antibodies and virus in their system simultaneously

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With many unanswered questions about the spread of COVID-19 in children, researchers at Children's National Hospital set out to improve understanding of how long it takes pediatric patients with the virus to get out of theirs Systems and when they start to produce antibodies that work against the coronavirus. The study, published September 3 in the Journal of Pediatrics, shows that the virus and antibodies can coexist in young patients.

"With most viruses, once you start detecting antibodies, the virus is no longer recognized. With COVID-19, however, we see both," says Dr. Burak Bahar, lead study author and director of laboratory informatics at Children & # 39; s National. "This means that children still have the potential to transmit the virus even if antibodies are detected."

She adds that the next phase of research will be to test whether the virus that is present alongside the antibodies can be passed on to other people. It also remains unknown whether antibodies correlate with immunity and how long antibodies and potential protection from re-infection last.

The study also looked at the timing of viral clearance and immunological response. It was found that the median time from virus positive to negative at which 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 reaching adequate levels of neutralizing antibodies was 36 days. Neutralizing antibodies are important in preventing a person from potentially re-infecting the same virus.

This study used a retrospective analysis of 6,369 children tested for SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, and 215 patients who stayed at Children & # 39; s between March 13, 2020 and June 21, 2020. s National antibody tests were carried out on 215 patients; 33 had co-tests for both virus and antibodies during their disease course. Nine of the 33 showed the presence of antibodies in their blood while they later tested positive for the virus as well.

The researchers also found that patients ages 6 to 15 took longer to clear the virus (median 32 days) than patients ages 16 to 22 years (median 18 days). Women in the 6-15 year age group also took longer to clear the virus than men (median of 44 days for women compared to median of 25.5 days for men).

Although new data is available at this point in adults with COVID-19, there is far less data on the pediatric population. The findings, gathered by Children & # 39; s National researchers and scientists around the world, are critical to understanding the unique effects on children and their role in virus transmission.

"The most important thing is that we cannot give up our vigilance just because a child has antibodies or no longer shows symptoms," says Dr. Bahar. "The continued role of good hygiene and social distancing remains critical."

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National Children's Hospital

Children can have COVID-19 antibodies and virus in their system at the same time (2020, September 3)
accessed on September 3, 2020

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