Coronavirus: The role of children in the outbreak is a mystery that baffles scientists


09:57 AM

Sunday 30 August 2020

Seoul – (BBC):

A scientific study in South Korea indicated that children can carry the Corona virus in their noses for up to three weeks.

Previous studies had concluded that most children who contract the virus have moderate or no symptoms.

However, these revelations shed light on an unresolved issue: to what extent children can pass the virus to others and spread the disease.

The study stresses the importance of continuing to work with the rules of social distancing, hygiene and sterilization well, with children returning to school.

Professor Russell Viner, Dean of the Royal College of Child Medicine and Health, explained that there are three separate but related questions about children and Covid-19 disease:

Although we are sure children may catch the virus, Professor Viner says that the data obtained from tests of immune bodies in the blood indicate that they are less likely to catch the virus than adults, especially children under the age of 12.

Scientists are also very confident that children are less likely than adults to become sick, even if they catch the virus, and many of them show no symptoms at all. This is confirmed by a British scientific study published on Friday.

As for the third question, we know very little about the answer, and this South Korean study tries to discuss it.

What does the South Korean study say?

The study, which was based on a sample that included 91 children, revealed that the virus can be found in swab samples taken from children who showed slight symptoms or did not show any symptoms, for up to three weeks after the date of taking the sample.

The researchers concluded that they were in fact carrying viruses that could be diagnosed in their noses, and indicated that they were susceptible to transmitting the virus to others.

The way South Korea conducts the virus detection tests, and the method of isolating and tracking cases, even in those who did not show any symptoms, allowed for closer consideration of this group in the study sample.

Once the cases are diagnosed and isolated, patients are subjected to repeated checks until the virus disappears from them, so the study was able to give us new information about children as carriers of the virus with the possibility of them having the possibility of transmitting the virus to others and contributing to its spread.

However, this study remains like other studies and does not resolve the issue, but rather leaves a missing piece of the puzzle pieces. The mere presence of the virus in a child’s nose does not definitively prove that it will transmit it to adults at the same rate.

“It would be illogical to think that children have no role in transmitting the disease,” says Dr. Roberta DiBiase, chief of pediatrics at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, when considering that they are actually carrying the virus.

However, Professor Callum Semple, professor of child health at the University of Liverpool, said: “The presence of the genetic material (genetic) for the virus in samples of swabs from the respiratory tract should not be treated as equivalent to transmitting the virus, especially in people who do not show important symptoms such as coughing and sneezing.” .

So can we come to a conclusion on this?

Logical thinking dictates that both children and adults, people who do not show symptoms or are mild, – that is, those who do not cough or sneeze and spread the virus in the air – are less likely to spread the infection, and children, in general, get more cases. A milder measure of illness.

However, a significant number of people who did not show symptoms still had a marked effect on the rate of infection.

As Professor Fenner pointed out, keeping schools closed is not neutral either, as it also has risks for children’s development, education and mental health.

While the extent of the dangerous role of children in transmitting the virus in particular remains an open question at this moment, the answer to it is vital to the process of controlling any future outbreak of the disease.

Dr. DiBiase believes that although “the vast majority of infected children show moderate or indistinguishable symptoms”, they play an “important” role in facilitating the spread of infection in the communities in which they live.


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