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Homegrown evidence suggests COVID-19 is less infectious for children: Canadian study

WINNIPEG — There is some homegrown evidence children may be less infectious when it comes to COVID-19 compared to adults, according to some local researchers.

“There’s probably something going on here that’s biologically different about children and how they interact with the virus,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Jared Bullard, an associate professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba (U of M).

U of M researchers analyzed positive samples from 175 children – infants to age 17 – and 130 adults.

They found the samples from children were half as likely to grow on cell culture and produced significantly less virus compared to the adult ones.

This suggests kids don’t spread COVID-19 to each other or adults very well, unlike other viruses like the flu.

“We know that in the school setting you can change the distance, three feet versus six feet, and the overall rate of infection in kids and the teachers around them don’t necessarily change,” Bullard said.

But there is more work to be done. The study did not include the variants of concern which may impact young adults at a greater rate.

The researchers plan to examine samples with variants of concern and kids.

Bullard said they are optimistic as the current findings already apply to a whole host of COVID-19 strains, and they hope the variants of concern too.

“If we find the variants of concern aren’t impacting children either, that would be very, very interesting,” said Bullard.

The research team also included officials from Cadham Provincial Lab and the National Microbiology Lab.

The results of the study have been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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