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Children with COVID-19 may have lower infectivity than adults, UK scientists say

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Children with COVID-19 may have lower infectivity than adults, UK scientists say

LONDON (Reuters) – Children have milder symptoms of COVID-19 than adults and the balance of evidence suggests that they, too, may have less susceptibility and infectivity than adults, said scientists advising the British government.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A child with a protective mask disinfects his hands when he arrives at an elementary school, while Austrian schools reopen for students aged six to 14, during the global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Brunn am Gebirge, Austria 18 May 2020. REUTERS / Leonhard Foeger

When Europe and the United States begin to return to work after the blocks imposed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, world leaders are trying to find out when it is safe for children and students to return to their studies.

Warning that there is a significant lack of high-quality evidence in children, the scientists concluded in an article submitted to the British government that: “There was some evidence that children had milder symptoms than adults, but that evidence of susceptibility and transmission were still clear. "

In another article submitted to the government, the scientists said: "The evidence remains inconclusive in both children's susceptibility and infectivity, but the balance of evidence suggests that both may be less than in adults."

In a third document, on April 29, Professor Russell Viner of University College London and Rosalind Eggo of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said that UK clinical data confirmed that children have a noticeably less symptomatic illness and less severity than adults.

"The evidence remains inconclusive in both children's susceptibility and transmissibility, but the balance of evidence that suggests both may be less," said Viner and Eggo.

"Serological studies are beginning to be available in the history of childhood infections, with some suggesting low rates of infection," they said. "These should be interpreted with caution."

"There is limited evidence on the transmission of children, with some leaning towards a smaller transmission of children."

Evidence cited in the April 29 document:

Zhu et al. medrxiv on here

* Australian schools study on April 26, 2020 on here

* Fontanet et al. COVID-19 cluster in northern France: a retrospective closed cohort study on here

Editing by Michael Holden and Stephen Addison

Our standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust principles.

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