More than 20% of children with COVID-19 have no symptoms

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In a new study, researchers found a considerable proportion of children with confirmed COVID-19 remain asymptomatic.

The research was conducted by a team from Seoul National University and elsewhere.

The team examined the full clinical course and duration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA detectability in children confirmed with COVID-19 from South Korea.

Ninety-one children with confirmed COVID-19 were included.

The researchers found that there were 20 children (22%) who were asymptomatic for the entire observation period.

Of the symptomatic cases, 66%, 25%, and 9% had unrecognized symptoms before diagnosis, developed symptoms after diagnosis, and were diagnosed at the time of symptom onset, respectively.

Lower respiratory tract infections were reported among 22 children (24%).

In upper respiratory samples, the duration of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA presence was about 17.6 days. In asymptomatic children, virus RNA was detected for a mean of 14.1 days.

The duration of virus RNA detection did not differ between children with upper and lower respiratory tract infections.

Fourteen children received lopinavir-ritonavir and/or hydroxychloroquine treatment. All cases recovered, with no fatalities.

The team says the potential role of children in transmitting disease in the community needs to be further elucidated, and strategies to contain COVID-19 should reflect its effects.

One author of the study is Mi Seon Han, M.D., Ph.D.

The study is published in JAMA Pediatrics.

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