Covid and antibodies in children: they are greater and longer lasting

Covid and antibodies in children: they are greater and longer lasting
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Researchers from the University of Padua and the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Venice, in collaboration with the Padua Hospital, the Penta ONLUS Foundation and the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital of the city have just published the results of a study observational that shows how in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic subjects, the antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 in children is superior and longer lasting than in adults.

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Covid and antibodies: the study

The study, published by the specialized journal "Pediatrics", involved 57 Venetian families out of the over 300 followed by the clinic dedicated to the follow-up born in April 2022 within the Department of Women's and Child Health of Padua, finding in particular in the age group 0/6 years neutralizing antibodies 7-8 times higher than those observed in the adult population, and lasting 9 months. All this up to 7-8 months after infection.

The program stems from the collaboration between the Department of Women's and Child Health, the Department of Surgical, Oncological and Gastroenterological Sciences (prof. Anita de Rossi) and the Department of Medicine (prof. Mario Plebani). The clinic is very active and currently follows around 300 families in close collaboration with family pediatricians in the Veneto region. The quantification of neutralizing antibodies was made possible thanks to an experimental test developed by virologists of the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of the Venezie. 

Explains Carlo Giaquinto, professor of Pediatrics at the University of Padua, President of the Penta Onlus Foundation and coordinator of the study: "Knowing that children develop antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus for many months is an extremely important evidence, given that the use of the vaccine is currently limited to people over 12 years of age. The application of vaccination in the pediatric field will depend on the full understanding of the mechanisms underlying the immune response in children and on a correct communication of scientific data to the competent authorities and to the community. However, it must be remembered that although the antibody response of children is more powerful and lasting than we imagined, it alone is not sufficient to guarantee full protection. This is why it is important to continue our studies by looking at the role of cell-mediated immunity ".

Furthermore, clinical studies show that the presence of high antibody titers reduces the chances, once cured, of becoming infected again. 

Minor risks for the recovered children

Some clinical studies have shown that the presence of high levels of antibodies decreases significantly the chances of getting infected again. "For these reasons and the fact that a more powerful and lasting antibody response alone is not sufficient to guarantee full protection, I am a strong supporter of under 12 vaccination. Also because one of the most serious problems linked to the pandemic is that children have not been able to go to school for a long time, with serious neuropsychiatric relapses. As for the risk-benefit ratio of anti-Covid, children are less likely to get seriously ill, but the danger is there, and outweighs any side effects ", explained the professor." Ema's pronouncement is awaited, the European Medicines Agency, regarding the safety and efficacy of current vaccines in the 2-5 and 6-11 age group. Our data will be of fundamental importance to define the modalities and timing of the immunization of pediatric populations previously exposed to the virus. And then the Green Pass is now valid for 6 months for all unvaccinated and cured subjects, regardless of age. Our research lays the foundations for the possible extension of the validity of the certificate for children under 6 ", added the professor Francesco Bonfante, virologist of the IZV and co-author of the publication. 

Research funding

It is part of the "Orchestra Project", financed with 30 million euros by the European Union and of which Veneto coordinates the pediatric part, also with Professor Evelina Tacconelli, professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Verona and head physician in the Scaligera hospital.

Fonte articolo: Mild SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Neutralizing Antibody Titers-Pediatrics

  • coronavirus
  • vaccinations for children
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