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Coronavirus Research Spotlight


Why have children been largely spared during the pandemic?  It has become apparent that fewer young children have contracted COVID-19  than teens, young adults, and older adults. Why is that?  Are young children the "super-spreaders" they were once thought to be? 

Mt. Sinai researchers have been studying why COVID - 19 may be less common in young children than in adults. Findings show that young children lack a receptor in their cells necessary to contract the virus. The coronavirus uses the ACE2 receptor to enter the human body, where it spreads. ACE2 is known to be present in our airway, kidneys, heart, and gut. They found that younger children have lower levels of ACE2 in the nasal passages and this ACE2 level increases with age into adulthood. The nasal passages are typically the first point of contact for COVID-19. Infectious Disease Speacialist, Dr. Paul Offit, stated that "with the lack of the receptor, ACE2 in children's cells, it makes it much harder for young children to contract COVID-19. The virus is less capable of binding to cells that line a child's upper respiratory tract.  As chidren age, they slowly develop the ACE2 in their cells. Therefore, children who are less than 5 years old are less infectable and when infected, are less contagious and less seriously affected as compared to older adolescents and adults." 

This information may explain why children have largely been spared and are not the "super-spreaders" they were once thought to be.



 

 





 







 








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