Children miraculously less vulnerable to COVID-19 infections

It is mostly the elderly people who have succumbed to COVID -19 infections. Besides the age, it is the comorbid conditions which has heightened the risk of deaths in the elderly. It seems that the youth vigour protects against the ill effects of the disease.


However, another subset of the population is miraculously escaping the illness, the children. They are the ones in which minimal damage has been noted. While children would be the most infected ones when it came to seasonal influenza, in case of coronavirus they being least affected is being noted as a surprise. This same effect was noted earlier with other classes of coronavirus namely, Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) too.


Scientists believe it may be owing to the differeces in the immune response of the children as compared to adults.  Dr. Andrew Pavia, the chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah believes that the innate immune response, or the early response in the children is aimed broadly at groups of pathogens, and tends to be more active. This may be the reason behind the miraculous less number of infections in children.  If the innate immune response is stronger in children exposed to COVID-19 viruses, they may fight off infection more readily than adults, suffering only mild symptoms.


Yes, even the children contract the coronavirus infections. However, though the infections may progress to viral pneumonia, their immune system tackles the disease in a much better way than adults. The children do not develop the immunologic complications which adults develop leading to a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Studies have shown that 40% of people died as a result of ARDS following COVIC-19 infections.


A data on 44,672 infected people confirmed to have COVID-19 infections dated 11th February shows that most of the people who succumbed to the illness are 60 years and older.

Even the seasonal flu death rates for children are 10 times lesses as compared to adults. It is quite possible that there are other possible reasons beyond the innate immune system. One link might be that kids might have healthier respiratory tracts because they've been exposed to less cigarette smoke and air pollution than adults.


With the air pollution like that we have here in the capital city of Nepal, if infection as such were to spread in the city, many people could succumb to the illness owing to unhealthy respiratory tracts.





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