Children, COVID, and Immunity
COVID rates reveal we need more research on children's immune systems
For viruses like influenza that have been circulating for a long time, children and elderly people are typically more susceptible. Why then for COVID have there been fewer cases in young children?
Some researchers think it could be due to innate immune response. Since COVID is a totally novel virus, adults do not have the advantage of having been exposed to it before the outbreak. Starting from a level playing field immune-wise, children's reactive immune systems may be giving them an advantage against the virus.
Researchers are not sure what the answer is yet. Hypotheses include children having fewer ACE2 receptors (making it harder for COVID to invade cells), children getting more exposure to related coronaviruses like the common cold, and reduced inflammation and a more targeted adaptive response.
Researchers agree that more data is needed to understand the factors affecting children's immune responses. For more on the various research projects underway now, head to Nature.