One of the enduring mysteries of the COVID-19 pandemic is why most children tend to experience fewer symptoms than adults after infection with the coronavirus. The immune system response that occurs in the rare cases in which children experience life-threatening reactions after infection may offer an important insight, a Yale-led study published in the journal Immunity suggests.
While many children infected with the virus are asymptomatic or go undiagnosed, about one in 1,000 children experience multi-system inflammatory response (MIS-C) four to six weeks after confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The condition is marked by a variety of symptoms, including fever, abdominal pain with vomiting and/or diarrhea, rash, and cardiovascular and neurological problems. If diagnosed early, the condition is readily treatable with immune suppressants such as steroids. If left untreated, however, it can be fatal.