University Of Birmingham Researchers Warn That Children Infected With COVID-19 Could Develop Kawasaki-Like Syndrome Weeks Or Months Later At Any Time.
: Medical researchers from the University of Birmingham have developed a test that has offered evidence confirming COVID-19 to be the cause of a newly emerged multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, who have tested negative for the virus by the PCR test.
The study findings also raise the possibility that children who may have had the virus in their system, even if they haven't been unwell, could be at risk of developing this new condition. Evidence points that the condition can develop weeks or even months after infection. https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/university/colleges/mds/news/2020/06/covid-children-kawasaki.aspx
Health authorities in the UK and US have reported in recent weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, of children presenting with symptoms similar to those seen in Kawasaki disease; a rare condition, usually seen in under-fives, that causes a persistently high temperature, rashes and inflammation of the blood vessels.
This emerging medical condition has recently been termed Paediatric Inflammatory Multi-System Syndrome - Temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) and to date has affected around 100 children in the UK with further reports of cases across Europe and the United States.
This recent research demonstrates the value of an antibody test, developed by a team at the University of Birmingham, to confirm the diagnosis of children hospitalized with symptoms consistent with PIMS-TS.
Interestingly all of the children tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus by PCR.
This new research was the product of a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham Health Partners, Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Southampton and The Binding Site Group Ltd.
The new blood test, which demonstrates the presence of different types of antibodies to the virus, showed that every child had high levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The pattern of antibodies indicated that the infection most likely occurred weeks or even months previously. This means that antibody testing can be used to help diagnose PIMS-TS, even when virus is not directly detectable in the patient.
Lead researcher and Consultant Immunologist at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, Dr Alex Richter told Thailand Medical News, "By focusing on assay development using academic principles, our team has designed a sensitive antibody test that can be used to detect exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infections. The test will be used to understand how many individuals have suffered from COVID-19 in our communities but we have found another use identifying PIMS-TS in these sick children".
"It has been a privilege to work with colleagues within the University of Birmingham and the Birmingham Children's Hospital to adapt this test to help doctors diagnose this condition and enable them to choose the best life-saving treatments," said Professor Dr Adam Cunningham, co-author and Professor of functional im
munity at the University's Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy.
"Having access to cutting edge immunology expertise and the new sensitive antibody test at the University of Birmingham has been essential in allowing rapid diagnosis and early treatment of these critically unwell children with PIMSTS," added, Dr Barney Scholefield, paediatric intensive care consultant at Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust and researcher at the University's Institute of Inflammation and Ageing.
The researchers are advocating that the new blood tests become a standard diagnostic protocol to test all children and monitor their health levels.
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