Differences in immune function and lung physiology in children are said to be the reason why children are not affected by the coronavirus. A study in the United States has come out with this claim.
The researchers said that only 1.7 per cent of the first 1,49,082 cases in the United States were children, and adolescents younger than 18 years old. They also found that though children under 18 years of age formed 22 per cent of the population, only three paediatric deaths were identified as of April 2020.
Angiotensin converting enzyme 2s, called ACE2, are those that allow SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus to enter the body’s cells. Children have less ACE2 in the lungs than adults, the study said.
Senior author Matthew Harting (University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston) said that ACE2 increase only with age. Children have only less ACE2, which can be one of the reasons why they are not much prone to the virus, Harting said.
The T-cells are also said to have a major effect in fighting the coronavirus. In adults, T cells are reduced and hence the fight against the virus is also reduced. The T Cells in children are maintained and as such they are able to prevent the virus. The lungs of children are known to have a more concentration of T- cells. Apart from this, the children also have higher levels of Interleukin 10 (IL-10), which is a human cytokine synthesis inhibitory factor.
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