Dr Andrzej J.Samosiuk: “Why children may be protected from the virus”

Why does the coronavirus terrorize some adults but leave children relatively untouched?


The vast majority of children do not get sick at all; if they do contract the virus, almost all recover fully. A new study — the first to compare the immune response in children and adults — suggests that in children, a branch of the immune system that evolved to protect people from unfamiliar pathogens quickly destroys the virus before it can damage their bodies.
When our bodies encounter new germs, they respond with a flurry of immune activity. Children’s bodies typically respond with an innate response that is quick and overwhelming because most pathogens they encounter are new. Adult bodies, on the other hand, react in a more specialized and sophisticated way, since it’s rare that they encounter new germs. Children and adults have both systems, but the innate response is much stronger in children.


Our colleague, Apoorva Mandavilli, put it this way: If the strong innate immune response resembles emergency responders first on the scene, the adaptive response represents the skilled specialists at the hospital. In the time it takes for an adult body to get the specialized adaptive system up and running, the virus has had more time to do harm.

Dr Andrzej Jędrzej Samosiuk




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