COVID-19: Studies Suggest Children May Carry Higher Viral Load

Younger children have a higher viral load in their nose and mouth. Hence, they are more likely to spread the virus as compared to younger adults.

We all know that elderly people are more vulnerable to Covid 19 infection. We also know that people suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure are at an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19.

What does this mean? This simply means that such people have a higher infection load than the normal covid patients.

However, many research studies appeared in various journals recently suggest that children and infants with COVID-19 infection have a much higher viral load compared to adults.

A study, conducted by the researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children, was published in the Journal of Pediatrics on August 19. The study included 192 children aged 0 to 22 years. The researchers found 49 children positive for COVID-19. 18 children were diagnosed with late-onset COVID-19-related illness.

The study revealed that despite carrying higher viral load, younger children were less likely to get seriously infected with the virus.

The researchers also found that younger children had a higher viral load in their nose and mouth. Hence, they were more likely to spread the virus as compared to younger adults who were hospitalised for COVID-19 treatment.

Another study was conducted by different researchers between 23 March 2020 and 27 April 2020. These researchers were recruited by the Ann and Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital to carry out study on 145 Chicago patients who were admitted to the hospital with mild to moderate disease.

The researchers divided the participants into three groups based on their age; 46 children who were five years old or younger, 51 children aged between five and 17, and 48 adults aged 18 to 65 years.

The researchers found that children below five years of age had more viral genetic material.

Their findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on 30 July 2020.

The study concluded that children at or under the age of five with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms carry 10 to 100 times more of the virus in their nose and throat than older children and adults.

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