Children Younger Than 5 Years Carry 100-Fold Greater Corona Load Than Adults: Study

In the early days of coronavirus, children were considered in the safe zone where getting infected from the virus was concerned. No longer, it seems.

A study published on Thursday has revealed that children younger than five years of age carried major amounts of coronavirus in their upper respiratory tract, reported India Today.

Understanding the transmission potential in children will be key to developing public health guidelines, said researchers who published the study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, reported India Today.

A research team from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Northwestern University tested swab collections from inpatient, outpatient, emergency department, and drive-through testing sites in Chicago, Illinois between March 23 and April 27, 2020, the report said.

The study was carried out in three groups – children younger than five years, children 5 to 17 years, and adults 18 to 65 years. It included 145 individuals aged between one month and 65 years with mild to moderate COVID-19, India Today reported.

Their analysis suggests the young children had a viral load 10-fold to 100-fold greater than adults in their upper respiratory tracts, it added.

The study found greater amounts of viral nucleic acid, the genetic codes for proteins to produce new viruses in children younger than 5 years.

However, it was further reported that the study only looked at viral nucleic acid and not infectious virus. So, it is not clear if children can spread the virus.

According to the researchers, the results also mean that there should be focus on this segment of the population while targeting immunization efforts when COVID-19 vaccines become available.

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