A battle is raging over long covid in children

Children develop many other difficult-to-define syndromes after covid. Fatigue is normal. Some babies may have a cough or sore throat for months. Others take months to regain their sense of taste and smell. Some are too weak to go to school or have signs of heart damage, others experience seizures and blackouts. Symptoms may resolve temporarily before recurrence. Some children have only one permanent symptom, while many others experience constipation.

Symptoms also vary in their severity અને and these differences may be overlooked in studies that compare children who have contracted SARS-CoV-2 or not. A questionnaire that asks children if they have a headache cannot differentiate a mild headache from a severe experience that causes the child to not be able to open their eyes or get out of bed.

In fact, the long covid is likely to involve many different situations. “It’s not a diagnosis, it’s not a disease … we don’t know what it is,” Forrest says. “It’s squishy.” Stephenson and McFarland have long met with WHO representatives to discuss the possible definition of covid in children, but no one has yet been established. The WHO says it will need more study and research.

While progress in finding a clinical definition has stalled, there has been at least some agreement on the way to define long covid in children for research purposes.

In February, Stephenson and colleagues published a definition of long covid in children for use in research that states that symptoms should follow a confirmed case of covid-19, affect the child’s life and physical, mental or social well-being, and last for at least 12 weeks. Should stay. Stephenson hopes the WHO will align its definition with this, but in the meantime the definition will at least help ensure that researchers are studying the same thing, he says.

Vaccination value

The only way to prevent long-term covid is to avoid SARS-CoV-2 transmission, which is why many doctors and scientists encourage people to get vaccinated. It is not clear how much vaccines can protect against long covid, but a few recent studies suggest that vaccination may reduce the risk of serious illness from a child’s omicron variant by two-thirds.

Long covid is more often thought to follow a more severe infection, but may also follow mild or asymptomatic cases. “This seems to be more of a case in children, which is unique and disturbing to me,” says Yvonne Maldonado, a pediatrician at Stanford University and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases.

Measure the temperature on a sick child


Because vaccination can reduce the severity of cases, and should reduce transmission, it is recommended for all children over the age of 5 in the US. As of March 30, 58% of people between the ages of 12 and 17 had received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Only 27% of people aged 5 to 11 years.

In the UK, the Covid-19 vaccination for young children is the focus of another discussion. The UK’s Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI), which advises the government, announced plans last month to offer the Covid-19 vaccine to all children between the ages of 5 and 11, and then only on a “non-immediate” basis.

“I think JCVI got it right,” says Absoud. “The way they left it now is that it’s a choice for families.”

“Hell of many children” is affected

Binita Kane at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Of course, there are other ways to reduce transmission in children. The experts we contacted emphasized the importance of keeping schools open and said that at least among adult caregivers, measures such as improving ventilation and air quality during the increase in transmission and masking can help keep the number of cases down and prolong covid. And can help prevent covid. “Long Epidemic Syndrome.” We have the only options for protecting children under 5.

All children significantly affected by SARS-CoV-2, whether directly or indirectly, will need support to recover, so arguments about the prevalence of covid in children for a long time may be on the side of the issue. “Whether it’s a long covid or a long-term epidemic syndrome, everything needs to be treated,” says Villapole.

Even if only 1% of children develop Kovid for a long time after the infection, the total number of children affected will reach millions, no matter how many children are already infected with the virus. The JCVI guidelines for vaccinating children indicate that 85% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 in the UK became infected with the virus by the end of January 2022, before they were eligible for vaccination. “It’s hell for so many kids,” says Kane.

Today, Kane’s daughter Jasmine is doing better. Kane says the new treatment method seems to have helped, and while she hasn’t been able to fully restore her energy levels, she’s “significantly improved,” Kane says.

The trouble is, when researchers discuss the prevalence, the focus shifts away from biological causes and potential treatments, meaning many other children still suffer, she says.

“We can’t wait for years,” says Kane. “We need to move on.”

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