Nov 23, 2021
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Are immunocompromised children at risk for COVID-19?

Doctors pay special attention to immunocompromised adults and children as they are potentially at increased risk of infection and complications. In a new study, specialists from the University Hospital in Southampton analyzed the medical records of more than 1.5 thousand pediatric patients under 19 years old, who are being observed in 46 UK hospitals in connection with various chronic diseases. The analysis included children with diabetes, gastroenterological, oncological, renal, respiratory and other pathologies.

During the year, volunteers filled out questionnaires about their health and possible symptoms of COVID-19, and also periodically underwent PCR testing and took antibody tests. As a result, a positive coronavirus was confirmed in 38 patients from September 2020 to March 2021 – during this period, two powerful waves of the epidemic went through the UK. Four children were hospitalized, but none of them had serious complications. No deaths were reported in the cohort. According to scientists, adolescents with immunodeficiency were most susceptible to infection.

At the same time, the indicators of seropositivity in children with weakened immunity were lower in comparison with healthy children, that is, the production of neutralizing antibodies. So, among patients who received a positive PCR test during the study, an immune response was developed only in 50%, among those who reported a previous COVID-19 – only in 4%.

The authors of the study called for the interpretation of these results with great caution, since the symptoms of the coronavirus, including the transferred one, were reported by the participants themselves, and not by medical workers. In addition, scientists admit that some data in the reports could be overestimated or, on the contrary, underestimated.

Earlier, scientists from Germany analyzed the medical records of children under 19 years old with cancer and confirmed COVID-19 from ten countries, including Russia. Some patients have had previous bone marrow transplants. A third of the infected children did not have any symptoms of COVID-19, 47% tolerated the infection easily, 8% moderately, 4% of patients were in serious condition, another 9% were in critical condition. The symptoms of the disease in general did not differ from the symptoms of coronavirus in healthy children – fever, cough, runny nose, gastrointestinal upset. Hospitalization was required for 37%, four died. In 95% of cases, the children recovered safely.

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