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Children have the potential to transmit COVID-19 even when they have the presence of antibodies in their bodies.
The COVID-19 antibodies develop in a patient after contracting with the infection. They help build immunity for protection against the reinfection of the disease. But, the case is complete opposite when it comes to kids.
Both the COVID-19 virus and its antibodies can live together in a child’s body which also means that the child is capable of spreading the infection even though antibodies are detected in the body.
A study was conducted by the Children’s National Hospital researchers whose aim was to understand the coronavirus better and also to know how long would it take for the pediatric patients with the virus to clear it from their systems and what time do they start producing antibodies.
This study has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Burak Bahar, MD, and director-general of Laboratory Informatics at Children’s National said that with most of the viruses when the antibodies are detected, the virus cannot be found anymore in the person’s body. But, in the case of coronavirus, the researchers are finding the presence of both at a time.
The next phase of this research is to study the possibility of transmission of this virus that is present alongside the antibodies to other people.
It also remains unknown if the antibodies correlate with the immunity and how long the antibodies and the potential protection from the infection last.
What exactly did the researchers find?
The study also assessed the timing of the viral clearance and the immunologic response. It found that the median time from viral positivity to negativity when the virus can no longer be detected was 25 days.
The median time for seropositivity or the presence of antibodies in the blood to be found was 18 days and the medium time to reach adequate levels of neutralizing antibodies was 36 days.
Neutralizing antibodies are important in potentially protecting a person from the reinfection of the same virus.
This study used a retrospective analysis of 6369 children who were tested positive for the coronavirus and 215 patients who underwent antibody testing between March 13 and June 21 2020.
Out of the 215 patients, 33 have tested positive for the virus and also the antibodies during the course of their disease. 9 out of the 33 had also shown the presence of antibodies in their blood while testing positive for the virus later.
Researchers also found that the patients of the age group 6 to 15 years took a long time to clear from the virus, which on average is 32 days and the patients from 16 to 22 years of age took 18 days to recover.
Moreover, females in the age group of 6 to 15 took more time to clear from the virus than males, which is 44 days for females and 25.5 days on average for males.
By Gayatri Yellayi