Children make up less than 2 % of identified cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Inside lining of nose cells were examined in age group of 4 to 60 years in a hospital in New York USA. The nose cells were examined for RNA analysis. The children were divided into younger children (less than 10 years), older children (10 to 17 years), and younger adults (18 to 24 years), & adults (above 25 years) In this group of 305 patients male & females were equally present. The study group also included half of them having asthma. In this American study done in April 2020 COVID-19 was reported for children in around 1.7 percent and of this 15 percent cases were of infants less than one year.
Of all the children studied, on an average 12% were hospitalized showing that less children were admitted to hospitals as compared to adults or elderly. Hospitalization was common for infants who were younger than 1 year & those having other diseases. Study was not done for kids from 1 to 4 years though as per latest scientific reports from USA they are being hospitalized as much as 1 year olds.
This study explains the reason why younger children have less chances of catching the virus as compared to adults or elderly. Also it was seen that as compared to younger children, older children (12 to 18 years) were more likely to get COVID-19 infection with 75% of death in 15-18 years bracket and hence the need to get them vaccinated first. Importantly there was not much difference in male or female cases or patients having diseases like asthma etc. To go even further, fluid in the wind pipe was also tested and found no difference age-wise or in patients suffering from asthma. This explains why we go only for nasal or throat swab for detection. These findings are almost the same as the scientific study reported from China in 2019 where COVID-19 cases in children were less severe in nature than adults & that children may have different symptoms (symptoms are body problems that you tell your doctor) than adults. Every 73 out of 100 elder children in the study had mild flu like symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
SARS Covid virus first enters the human body through the cells lining the inside of our nose. Based on scientific research published in May 2020 lower risk among children as compared to adults is genetically due to less of a protein substance (ACE - Angiotensin converting enzyme-2) which leads to less of entry points (receptors) through which the virus attaches itself to enter the human cell and then takes over the cell to make more copies of itself (The infection).
Also in a recent report from Maharashtra, India of the 88 Omicron cases 13 were children and most of them did not show any symptoms. Only 2 of the 13 children showed mild flu like symptoms which lasted for 2 days. Hopefully the Omicron variant may not cause severe disease in children though more study of such cases will only tell.
Compiled from various international research journals available at google scholar by D. Mukherjee having 38 years of pharmaceutical (Cardiac, Diabetic, Neurology, Pain & Inflammation products) experience with a Swiss Multinational Company NOVARTIS and edited by: Dr Sandeep Ahlawat, MBBS