COVID-19 infection does not appear to impair the lung function of children and adolescents, according to a study presented at the virtual European Respiratory Society International Congress on Tuesday.
A team led by researchers at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, found that even patients with asthma did not show a statistically significant deterioration in lung function.
However, such patients showed slightly lower measurements for the amount of air they could exhale forcibly in one second known as forced expiratory air volume in one second (FEV1), which is one of the measures of lung function.
A second study presented at the conference on Sunday showed that the lung function in children and adolescents was also unimpaired after COVID-19 infection, apart from those who experienced a severe infection.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions about if and how the lung is affected after clearance of the coronavirus infection, especially in young people from the general population with less severe disease,” said Ida Mogensen, a post-doctoral fellow at the Karolinska Institute.
The first study gathered information from 661 young people with an average age of 22 years who were part of a large research that enrolled children born between 1994 and 1996 in Stockholm, and who have been followed by researchers ever since.
Collected data included measurements of lung function, inflammation and white blood cells called eosinophils, which are part of the immune system.
Of the 661 participants, 178 had antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, indicating they had been infected.
The researchers measured FEV1, forced vital capacity (FVC) which represents the volume of air in the lungs that can be exhaled after a taking the deepest breath possible, and FEV1/FVC ratio, which is an indicator of narrowed airways.
They calculated the changes in lung function between the period before the and during the pandemic.
The researchers then compared the percentage change with participants who had not been infected.
“Our analysis showed similar lung function irrespective of COVID-19 history,” said Mogensen.
When the researchers included 123 participants with asthma in the analysis, the 24 per cent who had had COVID-19 showed a slightly lower lung function, but this was not statistically significant.
There was no difference in lung function among patients who had had COVID-19 with respect to eosinophils, indicators of inflammation, allergy responses or use of inhaled corticosteroids, they said.
The second study, presented by Anne Schlegtendal, from the University Children’s Hospital in Germany, looked at the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection between August 2020 and March 21 in 73 children and adolescents aged between five and 18 years.
Schlegtendal and colleagues carried out lung function tests between two weeks and six months following COVID-19 infection and compared the results with a control group of 45 children who had not been infected with the coronavirus but may have had some other infection.
The participants had different severity of disease. An infection was considered severe if patients suffered breathlessness, a fever above 38.5 degrees Celsius for more than five days, bronchitis, pneumonia or stayed in hospital for more than a day.
Nineteen children and adolescents in the COVID-19 group had persistent or new symptoms following SARS-CoV-2 infection, the researchers found.
Eight reported at least one respiratory symptom, six of whom suffered ongoing breathing problems and two had a persistent cough.
Two of these eight patients showed abnormal lung function, they said.
“When we compared the COVID-19 patients with the control group, we found no statistically significant differences in the frequency of abnormal lung function,” Schlegtendal said.
The researchers acknowledged some limitations in their study, including the small number of participants.
The participants were recruited at a single hospital, patients reported their symptoms, and a lack of information on long-term outcomes in the control group, they said.
In addition, the COVID-19 group did not include those with severe breathing problems during the acute phase of the infection.
“The findings from these two studies provide important reassurance about the impact of COVID infection on lung function in children and young adults,” said Anita Simonds, a professor at Imperial College London, UK, who was not involved in the research.
“We know already that this group is less likely to suffer severe illness if they contract the virus, and these studies, which importantly include comparator groups without COVID-19, show that they are also less likely to suffer long-term consequences with respect to lung function,” Simonds added.
India reports 29,616 new COVID-19 infections, 290 deaths
India reported 29,616 new COVID-19 infections and 290 deaths in the last 24 hours, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday.
Of these, 17,983 Covid cases and 127 deaths were reported in Kerala, informed the Ministry.
The active caseload is presently 3,01,442 and constitutes 0.90 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.
With 28,046 recoveries during the last 24 hours, a total of 3,28,48,273 people have been cured of the viral disease in the country so far.
The daily positivity rate has remained below 3 per cent for the last 26 days and currently stands at 1.86 per cent while the weekly positivity rate is at 1.99 per cent. It has remained below 3 per cent in the last 92 days.
A total of 56.16 crore COVID-19 tests have been conducted across India.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the total number of samples tested to date is 56,16,61,383, including 15,92,421 samples tested yesterday.
The health ministry said that 84.89 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive.
“Sustained and collaborative efforts by the Centre and the States/UTs continue the trend of less than 50,000 daily new cases that is being reported for 90 consecutive days now,” Union Health Ministry said in a release.
India reports 31,382 new COVID-19 cases
India logged 31,382 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 33,594,803, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday.
Of the new infections recorded in the last 24 hours, Kerala logged 19,682 cases.
The active caseload now stood at 3,00,162 which is the lowest in 188 days. The active cases account for less than 1 per cent and are currently at 0.89 per cent of total cases, which is the lowest since March 2020.
With 32,542 recoveries during the last 24 hours, the country also registered the highest ever recovery rate of 97.78 per cent since the start of the pandemic.
According to the health ministry, as many as 3,28,48,273 people have recovered from the disease so far.
The country also reported 4,46,368 deaths from the infection so far of which 318 people died in the last 24 hours.
The daily positivity rate has remained below 3 per cent for the last 25 days and currently stands at 2.00 per cent while the weekly positivity rate is at 2.07 per cent. It has remained below 3 per cent in the last 91 days.
A total of 55.99 crore COVID-19 tests have been conducted across India.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the total number of samples tested till date is 55,99,32,709, including 15,65,696 samples tested yesterday.
The health ministry said that 84.15 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive.
A total of 72,20,642 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, taking the total vaccination in the country to 84,15,18,026.
J&K reports 172 more coronavirus cases; no new virus-related death
Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday recorded 172 fresh cases of coronavirus, taking the infected number of persons to 3,28,590 while no fresh death due to the virus was reported from the Union Territory, officials said.
Out of the 172 fresh cases, 21 were from Jammu division and 151 from Kashmir division of the UT, the officials said.
They said Srinagar district recorded the highest number of 67 cases followed by 36 cases in Baramulla district.
There are 1,617 active cases in the UT, while the number of recovered patients was 3,22,554, the officials said.
The death toll in the UT due to the pandemic was 4,419 as no fresh death was reported in the past 48 hours.
Meanwhile, the officials said there were 46 confirmed cases of mucormycosis (black fungus) in the UT as no fresh case was reported since Wednesday evening.
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