Why the coronavirus affects children much less severely than adults has become an enduring mystery of the pandemic. The vast majority of children do not get sick; when they do, they usually recover.
The first study to compare the immune response in children with that in adults suggests a reason for children’s relative good fortune. In children, a branch of the immune system that evolved to protect against unfamiliar pathogens rapidly destroys the coronavirus before it wreaks damage on their bodies, according to the research, published this week in Science Translational Medicine.
“The bottom line is, yes, children do respond differently immunologically to this virus, and it seems to be protecting the kids,” said Dr. Betsy Herold, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Albert Einstein College of Medicine who led the study.
In adults, the immune response is much more muted, she and her colleagues found.
How do children fight off the coronavirus? The secret may lie in an “innate” immune response that targets unrecognized invaders, scientists say.https://t.co/nJyNlXt6kr
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 26, 2020