Children under 5 are major carriers of the coronavirus, study finds

Study detects heart damage in majority of recovered COVID-19 patients

"Our study was not created to prove that younger children spread Covid-19 as much as adults, but it is a possibility", Heald-Sargent added.

Contrary to the previous findings which stressed that children are not a major source of Covid-19 transmission, a new study has now claimed that young kids can spread coronavirus as much as older children and adults.

In the study, the researchers analysed 145 cases of mild to moderate COVID-19 illness within the first week of symptom onset.

Viral nucleic acids refer to the amount of viral material present in the body, should the virus get a foothold.

"The bottom line thus far is that children under 10 years of age are unlikely to drive outbreaks of COVID-19 in daycares and schools and that, to date, adults were much more likely to be the transmitter of infection than children", said Sarah Neil-Sztramko, an assistant professor with the NCCMT and McMaster's Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact.

The study, led by researchers from the Pennsylvania State University, University of Edinburgh, and University of Hong Kong, analyzed the evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2 using available genomic data on sarbecoviruses, the viral subgenus that SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 belongs to.

"The school situation is so complicated - there are many nuances beyond just the scientific one", stated study leader Dr Taylor Heald-Sargent, a paediatric infectious disease expert at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.


In a commentary accompanying the publication of the new studies, deputy editor of JAMA Cardiology Clyde Yancy and section editor Gregg Fonarow call for urgent ongoing research to better understand the cardiovascular complications associated with COVID-19, as preparations may be necessary for what could be another dimension to this pandemic crisis.

"This has important public health implications, especially during discussions on the safety of reopening schools and daycare", Heald-Sargent said.

Most notably, only 33 percent of the cohort studied required hospitalization during the course of their COVID-19 infection.

The study also "adds to mounting evidence discrediting conspiracy theories that suggest SARS-CoV-2 was bio-engineered or escaped from a laboratory", The Telegraph reported citing the authors. This study found greater amounts of viral nucleic acid - the genetic codes for proteins to produce new viruses - in children younger than 5 years.

"I think it's good news, because once the infection clears, olfactory neurons don't appear to need to be replaced or rebuilt from scratch".

They said the behavioral habits of young children, and the close quarters they occupy in school and day care settings raise concern for amplified transmission of the virus as public health restrictions are eased.

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