Children Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 at Home

Are children less susceptible to COVID-19 than adults? A COVID-19 study on the pediatric population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and their household contacts



How does the coronavirus affect children in a school-like environment?

To obtain data on the transmission of COVID-19 in the classroom, the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in Barcelona has analyzed PCR samples from 1,700 children and 400 monitors during the weeks of the summer camp.

Description of the Study:

  • Title: Susceptibility to COVID-19 in Pediatric Age: Study of Cases and Household Contacts.
  • Principal Investigators: Carmen Muñoz-Almagro and Cristian Launes.
  • Co-Investigators: Quique Bassat, Pedro Brotons, Desiré Henares, Victoria Fumadó, Mariona Fernández de Sevilla, Iolanda Jordan, Laia Alsina, Silvia Simo and Alba Redín.
  • Centers of Implementation: Summer camps from the Barcelona metropolitan area.
  • Study Population:
    – Primary cases of COVID-19: 500 adults (>18 years old) with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 disease living with children (<15 years old).
    – Pediatric and adult household contacts: 750 pediatric household contacts (<15 years old) and 500 adolescent and adult household contacts (≥15 years old).
  • Study Type: Observational Prospective Study.
  • Design: Observational study with prospective recruitment of adult cases and pediatric and adult household contacts.
  • Methods:
    • Capillary blood sample: Rapid test for the detection of IgG/IgM antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
    • Nasopharyngeal swab: Detection of RNA/DNA of SARS-CoV-2 plus 18 common respiratory viruses by RT-PCR and bacterial microbiota by Next Generation Sequencing.
    • Saliva sample: Detection of ACE2 levels by ELISA.

Objectives of the Study:

Principal Objective: Assess if children exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the home environment are less susceptible than adults to COVID-19 and to evaluate the role of the nasopharyngeal microbiota as well as the human ACE2 receptor in the different susceptibility to disease of the two groups.

Secondary Objectives:
(1) To determine the secondary transmission of COVID-19 between primary adult COVID-19 cases confirmed by RT-PCR and their pediatric and adult household contacts.
(2) To identify potential factors (e.g. demographic, environmental, lifestyle, and clinical factors) that could explain the intensity of secondary transmission of COVID-19 in the household.
(3)To evaluate the possible protective effect of nasopharyngeal microbiota against the secondary household transmission of COVID-19 and clearance of RNA SARS-CoV-2 in the nasopharynx in infected cases (adults and children)
(4) To evaluate the possible protective effect of the ACE2 receptor in the oral cavity of children against the secondary household transmission of COVID-19 from adults to children.

More about this Study:

Sant Joan de Déu: It is a university hospital specializing in the fields of pediatrics, gynecology, and obstetrics, which has a long history of more than 150 years, during which it has undergone many transformations and changes due to the need to adapt both to the social and health conditions of the time and to technological advances and the evolution of health care.

Kids Corona: The Kids Corona platform, which the San Joan de Déu Hospital launched last April continues to offer answers to better understand the incidence, impact, and transmission capacity of COVID-19 in children and pregnant women. In other words, the platform gathers different Pediatrics studies related to COVID-19 to improve the treatment, outcome, and transmission, for instance at school such as in this study, of the pediatric population.

Other Kids Corona Projects: « SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion during the postoperative period in pediatric patients« , « Identifying SARS-CoV-2 in breast milk as a potential means of vertical transmission« , « Susceptibility to COVID-19 in pediatric age: Study of cases in school-like environments » and « Characterization of COVID-19 in the Pediatric Population: Study of Sero-surveillance and of Immunological and Biochemical Biomarkers of Disease Severity ».

Sant joan de Déu leads this COVID-19 study to pediatric population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and their household contacts.

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