There are tentative signs children may not spread the novel coronavirus as much as adults, two top epidemiologists say.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine infectious disease modeller Dr Rosalind Eggo said she had seen some indications from research that children may not spread the novel coronavirus as much as adults.
“There are hints that children are less infectious but it is not certain,” Eggo told the science committee of the British parliament’s upper house, the House of Lords.
“We need more studies to really pin this down.”
Eggo said her research had shown there was a much lower level of symptomatic infection in those under 20 years-old – perhaps as little as 20 per cent of infections showing clinical symptoms.
“We think that children are less likely to get it so far but it is not certain,” she said on Tuesday. “We are very certain that children are less likely to have severe outcomes.”
The bad news, however, was that human immunity may not last that long.
“Antibody responses decline over time from survivors of SARS so after a couple of years their antibodies have declined quite significantly,” said John Edmunds, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“We can also see from other coronaviruses – the ones that cause coughs and colds – that individuals again do seem to not have particularly long-term immunity to many of those viruses and so allowing them to be infected later.
“So that’s potentially bad news for us: that immunity may not last that long against this virus.”
– Reported with AAP