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J Pediatr ; 227: 45-52.e5, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-872293


OBJECTIVES: As schools plan for re-opening, understanding the potential role children play in the coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the factors that drive severe illness in children is critical. STUDY DESIGN: Children ages 0-22 years with suspected severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection presenting to urgent care clinics or being hospitalized for confirmed/suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) at Massachusetts General Hospital were offered enrollment in the Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric COVID-19 Biorepository. Enrolled children provided nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, and/or blood specimens. SARS-CoV-2 viral load, ACE2 RNA levels, and serology for SARS-CoV-2 were quantified. RESULTS: A total of 192 children (mean age, 10.2 ± 7.0 years) were enrolled. Forty-nine children (26%) were diagnosed with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection; an additional 18 children (9%) met the criteria for MIS-C. Only 25 children (51%) with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection presented with fever; symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection, if present, were nonspecific. Nasopharyngeal viral load was highest in children in the first 2 days of symptoms, significantly higher than hospitalized adults with severe disease (P = .002). Age did not impact viral load, but younger children had lower angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 expression (P = .004). Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) to the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were increased in severe MIS-C (P < .001), with dysregulated humoral responses observed. CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals that children may be a potential source of contagion in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic despite having milder disease or a lack of symptoms; immune dysregulation is implicated in severe postinfectious MIS-C.

COVID-19 , Adolescent , Age Factors , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Comorbidity , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Pandemics , Severity of Illness Index , Viral Load , Young Adult