TUESDAY May 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) – New insight into a rare and dangerous disorder that can occur in children with COVID-19 could improve treatment for the disease, researchers say.
Many children infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) go undiagnosed or have no symptoms, but about one in 1,000 develops a condition called childhood multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C ) within four to six weeks.
Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain accompanied by vomiting and / or diarrhea, rash, and heart and nervous problems.
With early diagnosis, MIS-C can be treated with immunosuppressants such as steroids. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
“Why is this happening when there is no virus or antiviral response in children yet? And why is it only happening in young people?” said study co-author Carrie Lucas, assistant professor of immunobiology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
To find answers, she and her colleagues tested the blood of children with MIS-C, adults with severe symptoms of COVID-19, and healthy children and adults.
Children with MIS-C had distinct immune system signatures from other groups, the researchers found.
Specifically, they had high levels of alarmines – molecules that are part of the innate immune system that responds quickly to all infections.
Previous research has suggested that a child’s innate immune system response may be stronger than that of adults, and this could be one of the reasons why they typically show milder symptoms after infection with the novel coronavirus. .
“Innate immunity may be more active in children infected with the virus,” Lucas said in a college press release. “But on the other hand, in rare cases he can get too aroused and contribute to this inflammatory disease.”
Investigators also found that children with MIS-C exhibited marked elevations in certain adaptive immune responses. These are defenses that usually cause the body to remember and respond to specific pathogens (such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites).
But instead of being protective, the researchers explained that the responses in children with MIS-C appear to attack a variety of host tissues – a hallmark of autoimmune diseases.
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