A study carried out by French researchers on 605 young children reveals that they are not the main propagators of the new coronavirus covid-19.
Contrary to a widespread idea at the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, children do not seem to be the main spreaders of the virus and seem less contagious than adults, according to the conclusions of French researchers.
600 children tested
More than 600 young children were tested from April 14th to May 12th, 2020 for this forthcoming Ile-de-France research, consulted by AFP .
These studies tend to confirm that children seem to be less infected and less contaminating than adults, contrary to the hypothesis which prevailed at the start of the epidemic by analogy with other viruses, such as the flu.
“We didn’t know anything about this virus 3 or 4 months ago”, but now “we know that children are fewer carriers, they are less contaminating”, said Friday on RTL, Professor Robert Cohen, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the intercommunal hospital of Créteil and vice-president of the French Pediatric Society.
He coordinated this research carried out by 27 city paediatricians with 605 children, most of them under the age of 11 and with or without symptoms
Schools: the protocol soon to be relaxed?
With other pediatric structures that supported the return to school, the French Pediatric Society had criticized on May 13th certain “unnecessary or even harmful” precautions imposed on children (ban on playing between them, refusal to console a little one …).
Thursday, the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer said he hoped that the health protocol that governs the reception of students in schools can be relaxed “soon”, even if it will not be right away.
1.8% positive tests in the Paris region
He was asked about this possibility after the disclosure of the first conclusions of the study by Professor Cohen in the newspaper Le Parisien / Today in France.
“In a region strongly affected by the epidemic (Paris region) but during confinement, very few children (1.8%) were positive” to the virological test (RT-PCR) for detection of the coronavirus, write the authors.
But the rate of children who tested positive for serology (the tests which determine if one was infected, editor’s note) was higher, with 10.7%.
Contaminated by an adult
For positive virological tests, contact with a person infected with the new coronavirus “was the only significant risk factor for infection,” note the doctors.
Of the 65 children who tested positive (antibodies present), 87.3% had confirmed or suspected contact with Coronavirus Covid-19 in the family, usually an adult, according to the study.
Indeed, the number of brothers and sisters in the family did not significantly increase the probability of a positive virological or serological test result, note the authors.
A second study to come
The study has limits, stress the authors as the probable overestimation of intra-family contamination due to well-monitored confinement in France, and the possible over-representation of families already affected by Covid-19, “more likely to consult and agree to participate in the study. ”
The authors plan to repeat the study after the reopening of schools and crèches in the Paris region to better assess the transmission of the coronavirus in children.
The pediatric cases account for 1-5% of all cases of Coronavirus Covid-19 in the world, according to the health agency Public Health France (Federal Public Service) adding that serious and deaths among them are exceptional