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The National Institutes of Health have started a study over the long term of COVID-19’s impact on children and young people.
Researchers will monitor 1,000 children and young adults ages 3-21 who have been positive for coronavirus. The study will focus on the effects on mental and physical health, including the development and immune responses to the virus.
“Although we know children are at risk of COVID-19, it’s unclear how COVID-19 may affect them over the long-term,” Anthony Fauci MD director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases stated in an announcement.
The study is backed by Fauci’s institute under the National Institutes of Health. Researchers have already enrolled their first participant at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD.
“In adult patients, the long-term effects of COVID, including post-acute COVID-19, may significantly impact quality of life,” Fauci said. “Our investigations into the children’s population will deepen the understanding of the negative health effects that the epidemic caused and will continue to have throughout the months and years to come.”
In the course of the pandemic, more than 6,000,000 COVID-19-related cases were recorded in the U.S. While children are less likely to develop an acute illness, a lot of children have had significant effects in the short and long term as the NIH stated. Children may also experience inflammatory symptoms that can affect many organs. This is known as multisystem inflammatory disorder in the early years of childhood (MIS-C).
The study will monitor the long-term health effects of COVID-19 and try to find the risk factors that lead to complications according to the NIH stated. Researchers will also examine the long-term immune responses to the virus, look for genetic factors that may influence how children react to the virus, and discover if immunological factors affect the long-term effects.
The NIH said that children could be eligible to take part in the study if they’ve had a positive test for COVID-19 in the past even if they have no symptoms. Participants will undergo a comprehensive physical exam as well as a thorough medical history. Household members who didn’t get COVID-19 will be asked to join as part of the control arm of the study.
To enroll for the program, children must obtain the consent of their guardians or parents. During follow-up visits, participants will get additional scans, questionnaires and methods to track health development, quality of life. According to the NIH, the study should take about 6 years.
Additional information is available at ClinicalTrials.gov.
The Hill: “NIH long term study of children with COVID-19 enrolls its first participant.”
National Institutes of Health: “Long term study of children with COVID-19 begins.”
ClinicalTrials.gov: “NCT04830852 Pediatric COVID-19 and MIS-C Long-term Monitoring.”
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