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Why children avoid the worst coronavirus complications might lie in their arteries

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Evidence is mounting that healthy blood vessels protect children from serious effects of COVID-19, such as stroke.
Cyranoski, David
Publication Date: 
18 Jun 2020

Excerpted from article

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, scientists have been trying to work out why children are much less likely than adults to experience severe complications from the infection. Now research suggests that the answer might lie in children’s healthy blood vessels.

Children make up only a small proportion of those infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A large survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, found that children aged 17 and under, who make up 22% of the US population, account for fewer than 2% of confirmed COVID-19 infections across the United States. And, of 2,572 children included in the survey, only 5.7% went to hospital and only three died.

Several theories have been proposed to explain why children aren’t getting so ill. These include the possibility that they have a stronger and more effective initial immune response to the virus than adults do, and that they might have some immunity from recent exposure to similar viruses. But a growing number of researchers think that the difference between adults and children might be the condition of their blood vessels.