In medicine, it is often assumed that children are “just miniature versions of adults,” said Jennifer Dien Bard, director of the Laboratory for Clinical Microbiology and Virology at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. “But they’re not just little adults. It is really important that all tests available offer specific strategies for children and their specific needs. “
In the rush to release treatments, vaccines and diagnostics for widespread use, Company often neglect to include children in early studies testing whether products or therapies are safe and effective. But tests for viruses, bacteria, and other infectious microbes that give great results for adults Don’t always translate perfectly for children.
The reasons for these differences aren’t always obvious, said Dr. Pollock. For example, children’s immune systems might be better able to locate and bind to certain infectious invaders, making them more difficult to detect using standard tests.
in the a studyDr. Pollock and her team, published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in October, collected data from nine children’s hospitals across the country, all of which reported relatively low virus counts in children with no symptoms. Another, not yet published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, suggested a similar trend in sick children.
Confused by Coronavirus Testing Conditions? Let us help:
- antibody:: A protein made by the immune system this can accurately identify and bind to certain types of viruses, bacteria, or other intruders.
- Antibody test / serology test: A test that detects antibodies specific to the coronavirus. About a week after the coronavirus infects the body, antibodies start appearing in the blood. Because antibodies take so long to develop an antibody test tilt reliably diagnose an ongoing infection. However, it can identify people who have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past.
- Antigen test: This test detects parts of coronavirus proteins called antigens. Antigen tests are quick and only take five minutes less accurate as tests that detect genetic material from the virus.
- Coronavirus: Any virus that belongs to the Orthocoronavirinae virus family. The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is known as SARS-CoV-2.
- Covid19: The disease caused by the new coronavirus. The name is short for Coronavirus disease 2019.
- Isolation and quarantine: Isolation is separating people who know they have a contagious disease from those who are not sick. quarantine refers to restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a virus.
- Nasopharyngeal smear: A long, flexible stick with a soft swab that is inserted deep into the nose to collect samples from the space where the nasal cavity meets the throat. Samples for coronavirus testing can can also be collected with swabs that do not go so deep into the nose – sometimes called nasal swabs – or mouth or throat swabs.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): Scientists use PCR to make millions of copies of genetic material in a sample. Researchers can use PCR tests to detect the coronavirus even if it’s tight.
- Viral load: The amount of virus in a person’s body. For people who are infected with the coronavirus, Viral loads can peak before they show symptoms. if symptoms occur at all.
Laboratory tests, such as those using a technique known as the polymerase chain reaction or P.C.R. are sensitive enough to detect these low-level infections, said Dr. Pollock. However, the virus may not be present in sufficient quantities to be detected by a rapid test, for example those that only detect relatively large amounts of antigens or parts of coronavirus proteins. The Binax NOW is one such test.
Many such children “will be negative on rapid tests,” said Dr. Pollock. “It affects how we think about school environments and day care.”
Some children may naturally tend to harbor fewer viruses. It was also possible that the children in these studies were all sampled too late in their infections, when the virus was already extinct. If that were the case, Dr. Pollock, these children might have transmitted, or even transmitted, the virus in large quantities at one point, but were not tested during that time. Telling these scenarios apart could be difficult without testing many more children, she said.