Columbia University Study Finds Children Clear COVID-19 Infections Quicker Than Adults

Alex Waite

Scientists at Columbia University in New York have found that children produce weaker immune responses when infected with COVID-19 and they clear the infection quicker than older people.

According to the Independent, the study found that children produce fewer and weaker antibodies when their bodies fight the novel coronavirus. This suggests they can more efficiently combat Sars-CoV-2, the strand of virus that leads to COVID-19.

Further results show that children are less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others because they can quickly process the disease.

Immunologist and professor Donna Farber worked on the study and explained the differences in responses between individuals of various ages who have been infected with COVID-19.

"In kids, the infectious course is much shorter and probably not as disseminated as in adults. Kids may clear this virus more efficiently than adults and they may not need a strong antibody immune response to get rid of it," Farber said.

The findings of the study, published in the scientific journal Nature Immunology, shows that strong response in older people can lead to more severe illnesses or death from COVID-19.

Experts have explained how the range of immune responses from people of different ages impacts how COVID-19 develops in the body. Professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, Eleanor Riley, noted that certain biological elements in children don't allow Sars-CoV-2 to develop as severely.

"One hypothesis is that the receptor protein in the respiratory tract that binds Sars-CoV-2 (and allows it to invade the cells of the lung) is expressed at a lower level in children than in adults. As we age, more of this receptor protein is expressed and our lungs become vulnerable to infection," Riley said.

Some experts have questioned the validity of the research conducted at Columbia as samples taken from the participants were from one particular point in time. The types of antibodies developed over the course of infection also vary as the body battles COVID-19, which could further affect the outcome of the results.

Research conducted on staff at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) also found that antibodies last longer in those who developed symptoms after contracting COVID-19 in comparison to those who were asymptomatic.

Despite recent studies on the impact of the novel coronavirus, recorded cases are still rising across the world. The Inquisitr recently covered that the United States had over 100,000 new reported cases of the virus on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.