Coronavirus: children develop long-term immunity

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Coronavirus infection: infections without symptoms five times more common than in adults.

The impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on children is being investigated by the German Covid-19 family study, which shows that asymptomatic courses are five times more common in children than in adults. However, those affected develop strong immune protection.

Especially before the already foreseeable end of the school vacations in Austria and partial start of school in Germany, the issue of Covid-19 becomes particularly relevant again at educational institutions and among children.

Scientists from the university hospitals in Freiburg, Heidelberg, Tübingen and Ulm and the NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute in Reutlingen recently published their findings in preprint (not yet peer-reviewed). For the study, 328 families with at least one member suffering from Covid-19 were examined multiple times, according to the German “GesundheitsPortal.”

Family study on corona disease
A total of 548 children between the ages of six and 14 and 717 adults participated. In families with one infected person, children (34 percent) were significantly less likely to be infected than adults (58 percent) and five times more likely to have no symptoms of the disease (adults: nine percent, children: 45 percent).

Children show stronger immune response to Corona infection than adults
It has been repeatedly noted that more severe symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection result in a better immune response. This does not appear to be the case in children. Children showed stronger and longer-lasting specific antibody levels than adults eleven to twelve months after infection. This was true whether or not signs of disease were present. The children’s antibodies are well effective against different virus variants, so even children who are not visibly ill should be protected after infection. None of the infected children required hospitalization.

Symptoms differ between children and adults
Adults and children also differed in reported symptoms. While fever, cough, diarrhea, and taste disturbance were equally good indicators of infection in adults, only taste disturbance was a clear signal of Covid 19 infection in children (87 percent). Cough and fever were indicative of infection only with increasing age from about twelve years.

  • source: vienna.at/APA/picture: pixabay.com
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