Contrary to the previous findings which stressed that children are not a major source of Covid-19 transmission, a new study has now claimed that young kids can spread coronavirus as much as older children and adults.
The research, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, discovered that children younger than five years with mild to moderate Covid-19 have much higher levels of genetic material for the virus in the nose compared to older children and adults.
“We found that children under five with Covid-19 have a higher viral load than older children and adults, which may suggest greater transmission, as we see with a respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV,” said study lead author Taylor Heald-Sargent from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
For the results, the research team analysed 145 cases of mild to moderate Covid-19 illness within the first week of symptom onset.
They compared the viral load in three age groups – children younger than 5 years, children 5-17 years and adults 18-65 years.
According to the researchers, the current findings point to the possibility that the youngest children transmit the virus as much as other age groups.
The ability of younger children to spread Covid-19 may have been under-recognised given the rapid and sustained closure of schools and daycare during the pandemic.
“This has important public health implications, especially during discussions on the safety of reopening schools and daycare,” Heald-Sargent said.
“Our study was not designed to prove that younger children spread Covid-19 as much as adults, but it is a possibility,” Heald-Sargent added.
“We need to take that into account in efforts to reduce transmission as we continue to learn more about this virus,” the study authors wrote.
Recently, a study from McMaster University in Canada, revealed that especially below 10 years, are not a major source of transmission of Covid-19.
Another study published earlier this month in the journal Pediatrics stated that children infrequently transmit Covid-19 to each other or to adults and schools can and should reopen in the fall while adhering to social distancing guidelines.