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Children 'likely do not play a significant role' in passing coronavirus to adults, study suggests


The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the entire globe, resulting in at least 3 million infections and more than 228,000 deaths. However, young children have been impacted less than adults and a new study indicates children largely do not pass the disease to adults.

"The role of children in transmission is unclear, but it seems likely they do not play a significant role," the research, which comes from the Don't Forget the Bubbles pediatric blog, concludes. "Changes in laboratory or radiographic parameters are slightly different to adults, and changes usually mild. There is no direct evidence of vertical transmission, and early evidence suggests both infected mothers and infants are no more severely affected than other groups."
The research specifically cited a "China/WHO joint commission," that was unable to find episodes during contact tracing where "transmission occurred from a child to an adult."
"Studies of multiple family clusters have revealed children were unlikely to be the index case, in Guanzhou, China, and internationally," the researchers also pointed out. "A SARS-CoV2 positive child in a cluster in the French alps did not transmit to anyone else, despite exposure to over 100 people."
However, the researchers acknowledged there are "large numbers" of asymptomatic cases, which could influence the role of children in passing the disease to others.
The report also found that SARS-CoV-2 "appears to affect children less often," with "less severity," backing up the findings of other studies.
Bloomberg first reported the findings of the study.
Earlier this month, researchers in Italy concluded that most children who contract the novel coronavirus will recover within two weeks and display only mild symptoms while ill.
It's presently unclear why COVID-19 seems to affect adults more than children, but there are several theories. One of these theories notes that since children have younger immune systems than adults, they do not develop the aggressive immune response known as a "cytokine storm" that adults do, which fosters lung damage and often harms adults.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 3.2 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, more than 1 million of which are in the U.S., the most impacted country on the planet.
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