Lung physiology and immune function in children could be protecting them from severe COVID-19

Bindu Akkanti, MD, says getting to the bottom of why most children seem to be spared from severe illness related to COVID-19 could be the key to understanding how to best treat adults. Photo credit: Getty Images

Differences in lung physiology and immune function in children could be why they are more often spared from severe illness associated with COVID-19 than adults, according to pediatric and adult physicians at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Baylor College of Medicine, who teamed up to investigate the disparity.

The perspectives paper was recently published in American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

According to the paper, only about 1.7% of the first 149,082 cases in the U.S. were infants, children, and adolescents younger than 18 years old. Authors noted that children under 18 make up 22% of the U.S. population. Only three pediatric deaths were identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of April 2020.

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July 7, 2020