Recopilado por Carlos Cabrera Lozada. Miembro Correspondiente Nacional, ANM puesto 16. ORCID: 0000-0002-3133-5183. 09/12/2021
Investigating the role of children in the COVID-19 pandemic is pivotal to prevent the virus spreading. In most cases, children infected with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) develop non-specific symptoms or are asymptomatic. Therefore, the infection rate among this age group remains unclear. Seroprevalence studies, including clinical questionnaires, may contribute to our understanding of the timecourse and clinical manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infections.
SARS-CoV-2-KIDS is a longitudinal, hospital-based, multicentre study in Germany on the seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2immunoglobulin G, as determined by an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay in children (aged ≤17 years). A study-specific questionnaire provided additional information on clinical aspects.
This analysis included 10,358 participants recruited from June 2020 to May 2021. The estimated anti-SARS-CoV-2seroprevalence increased from 2·0% (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1·6, 2·5) to 10·8% (95% CI 8·7, 12·9) in March 2021, without major change afterwards and was higher in children with migrant background (on average 6·6% vs. 2·8%). In the pandemic early stages, children under three years were 3·5 (95% CI 2·2, 5·6) times more likely to be seropositive than older children, with the levels equalising in later observations. History of self-reported respiratory tract infections or pneumonia was associated with seropositivity (OR 1·8 (95% CI 1·4, 2·3);2·7 (95% CI 1·7, 4·1)).
The majority of children in Germany do not have detectable SARS-CoV-2IgG. To some extent, this may reflect the effect of differing containment measures implemented in the federal states. Detection levels might have been greater in certain age groups or migrant background. Lifting containment measurements is likely to cause a general increase in respiratory tract infections, which already pose a challenge to paediatric medical care during regular winter seasons. This challenge might become critical with additional infections caused by SARS-CoV-2.