Young infants have relative protection from coronavirus because their bodies produce a strong immune response to it, according to a new study by group of researchers at the University of Bristol and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.

The research team conducted research which found that infants produce relatively high levels of antibodies and immune cells which protect against the virus, compared to adults.

Researchers say the findings could help explain why younger children appear to be protected from the severe effects of COVID-19 at a time of their development when they could be more vulnerable.

The researchers sought as why children have only been mildly affected by the coronavirus during the pandemic, especially since younger infants, in particular, are known to be vulnerable to other respiratory viruses such as the flu.

The research study, which is published in Cell Reports Medicine, says in its summary --

Severe COVID-19 appears rare in children. This is unexpected, especially in young infants, who are vulnerable to severe disease caused by other respiratory viruses. We evaluate convalescent immune responses in four infants under 3 months old with confirmed COVID-19 who presented with mild febrile illness, alongside their parents, and adult controls recovered from confirmed COVID-19. Although not statistically significant, compared to seropositive adults, infants have high serum levels of IgG and IgA -- the most common antibody found in blood and body fluids -- to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with corresponding functional ability to block SARS-CoV-2 cellular entry.

Infants also exhibit robust saliva anti-spike IgG and IgA responses. On principal component analysis, infant immune responses appear distinct from their parents.


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